Kymab has published positive results in Science Translational Medicine for a new antibody with the potential to prevent rejection in bone marrow transplants.

Kymab is an antibody company based in Cambridge led by David Chiswell, co-founder and previously CEO of Cambridge Antibody Technology (CAT), the company that pioneered the development of the first therapeutic human antibodies. Kymab’s lead candidate from a big pipeline of next-generation antibodies, KY1005, is the protagonist of a new publication in Science Translational Medicine that demonstrates its potential to prevent acute Graft versus Host Disease (aGVHD).

GVHD occurs when the immune cells produced by a bone marrow or hematopoietic stem cell transplant start attacking the host. Kymab’s results show that KY1005 in combination with mTOR inhibitor sirolimus can prevent T-cell activation while supporting a successful reconstitution of the bone marrow in a mouse model of GVHD. The mice remained free from aGVHD for the whole length of the study, 100 days after the transplant, during which T cell gene activity was normalized.

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KY1005 is an antagonist of the OX40 ligand, a co-stimulatory molecule that promotes T cell proliferation and activity by binding to the OX40 receptor and that has been identified to play a key role in multiple autoimmune diseases. By blocking OX40L, KY1005 could bring an overreactive immune system back to balance in multiple forms of autoimmune disease.

KY1005 is the first, and so far the only antibody from Kymab to enter clinical trials. Results from the ongoing Phase I trial, which is testing the safety of the antibody in both healthy volunteers and patients with psoriasis, are expected in the first half of 2018.

If the trial goes well, Kymab could then start testing whether its results in mice can also be seen in humans and whether this therapy can actually treat multiple autoimmune diseases. According to Kymab, the antibody has potential in a wide range of conditions that includes psoriasis, multiple sclerosis and lupus.


Images via Africa Studio, sciencepics /Shutterstock

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