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|BioLineRx Announces Acquisition of Agalimmune Ltd. to Accelerate Expansion of Immuno-Oncology Pipeline|
Agalimmune's lead compound is AGI-134, a synthetic alpha-Gal immunotherapy in development for solid tumors. AGI-134 harnesses the body's pre-existing, highly abundant anti-alpha-Gal antibodies to induce a systemic, specific anti-tumor response to the patient's own tumor neo-antigens. This response not only kills the tumor cells at the site of injection, but also brings about a durable, follow-on, anti-metastatic immune response.
AGI-134 has completed numerous pre-clinical studies, demonstrating robust protection against the development of secondary tumors in a model of melanoma with a single dose only. Synergy has also been demonstrated in additional pre-clinical studies when combined with a PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor, offering the potential to broaden the utility of such immunotherapies, and improve the rate and duration of responses in multiple cancer types. AGI-134 is in near-clinical development and is expected to commence a first-in-man study in patients with solid tumors in the first half of 2018.
"In this regard, Agalimmune's lead asset, AGI-134, harnesses naturally occurring, pre-existing antibodies to elicit a tumor-specific immune response that is unique to the treated individual and provides a universal, small-molecule approach to personalized immunotherapy. The subsequent stimulation and recruitment of T cells, which recognize the patient's own neo-antigens, to the tumor site, has the potential of transforming 'cold' tumors into 'hot' ones. Through this important acquisition, we will also benefit from Agalimmune's complementary immunology expertise and facilities in the
"We are very excited that we found an ideal partner for our promising therapeutic pipeline. We are extremely impressed by BioLineRx's proven drug development capabilities, as well as their meaningful collaborations with global pharmaceutical companies," said
About Agalimmune and AGI-134
AGI-134, Agalimmune's lead molecule is a synthetic alpha-Gal immunotherapy in development for solid tumors. AGI-134 harnesses the body's pre-existing, highly abundant, anti-alpha-Gal antibodies to induce a systemic, specific anti-tumor response to the patient's own tumor neo-antigens. This response not only kills the tumor cells at the site of injection, but also brings about a durable, follow-on anti-metastatic immune response. Alpha-Gal is a cell-surface carbohydrate antigen which is not expressed by humans, unlike virtually all other mammals and bacteria. Therefore, humans universally produce and maintain high levels of anti-Gal antibodies, due to exposure to alpha-Gal on bacteria in the digestive system.
AGI-134 is injected into the tumor, where it coats the tumor cell membranes, resulting in alpha-Gal being exposed on the tumor cell surface. Anti-Gal antibodies bind to the alpha-Gal part of AGI-134 to produce an initial immune response that activates complement-dependent and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (cell death). This cytotoxicity generates immune-tagged cells and cellular debris that trigger an uptake of tumor-associated antigens by antigen-presenting cells (APCs). These APCs induce a follow-on systemic immune response by the activation and clonal expansion of T cells (CD8+) to the patient's own neo-antigens. This approach not only targets the primary injectable tumor, but has also demonstrated efficacy against existing distant secondary tumors. Furthermore, the mechanism of action suggests the potential of long-term protection against future metastases. The use of intratumoral alpha-Gal glycolipids to treat solid tumors was invented by Prof.
BioLineRx is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on oncology and immunology. The Company in-licenses novel compounds, develops them through pre-clinical and/or clinical stages, and then partners with pharmaceutical companies for advanced clinical development and/or commercialization.
BioLineRx's leading therapeutic candidates are: BL-8040, a cancer therapy platform, which has successfully completed a Phase 2a study for relapsed/refractory AML and is in the midst of a Phase 2b study as an AML consolidation treatment and a Phase 2 study in stem cell mobilization for allogeneic transplantation; and AGI-134, an immunotherapy treatment in development for multiple solid tumors, which is expected to initiate a first-in-man study in the first half of 2018. In addition, BioLineRx has a strategic collaboration with
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Various statements in this release concerning BioLineRx's future expectations constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements include words such as "may," "expects," "anticipates," "believes," and "intends," and describe opinions about future events. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of BioLineRx to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Some of these risks are: changes in relationships with collaborators; the impact of competitive products and technological changes; risks relating to the development of new products; and the ability to implement technological improvements. These and other factors are more fully discussed in the "Risk Factors" section of BioLineRx's most recent annual report on Form 20-F filed with the