The Myeloma Investment Fund (MIF), the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation‘s (MMRF) venture philanthropy subsidiary, has invested in KAHR, a clinical-stage biotech company, to explore the potential of DSP107, KAHR‘s lead immunotherapy drug candidate, for the treatment of multiple myeloma. KAHR is developing a novel, bi-specific CD47x4-1BB targeting immunotherapy that activates innate and adaptive immunity to treat solid tumors and blood cancers. The DSP107 drug adopts a multi-faceted approach to fight Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML), by selectively disabling the cancer defense mechanism while triggering a local targeted immune attack. There is a good chance that the DSP107 drug could be effective against multiple myeloma. Multiple myeloma, also known as myeloma, is a type of bone marrow cancer. Bone marrow is the spongy tissue at the center of some bones that produces the body’s blood cells.
MDS is a group of blood cancers that all affect, to a greater or lesser extent, the production of normal healthy blood cells in the bone marrow. MDS occurs because of a mutation in one or more of the genes that control the blast cells, which are the precursor blood cells, resulting in abnormal growth. A percentage of MDS patients continue to AML when 20% or more of their blasts are defective. The resulting lack of mature, healthy blood cells causes anemia and an increased risk of infection and bleeding. Around 5-10% of patients with solid tumors who are treated with chemotherapy, radiation, or autologous stem cell transplantation develop treatment-related MDS or AML. The majority of patients with MDS and AML are not cured with available therapies, underscoring the urgent need for new therapeutic alternatives that will improve the clinical outcomes of these patients.
In the US, 20,000 new cases are reported every year in the US, making MDS one of the most common blood cancers. The prevalence of MDS has been poorly assessed but is estimated to be between 60,000 – 170,000 patients in the US.
“We are thrilled to partner with KAHR to help advance DSP107 as a potential drug candidate for multiple myeloma,” said Peter Kosa, Ph.D., Managing Director of the Myeloma Investment Fund. “This investment reinforces our commitment to drive the development of the most innovative treatment approaches for myeloma patients.”
“We are excited to have the Myeloma Investment Fund join our syndicate of investors,” said Yaron Pereg, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of KAHR. “This vote of confidence helps us advance the clinical development of our lead product candidate, DSP107, which is being tested in multiple clinical studies for the benefit of patients who are non-responsive or refractory to existing therapies.”
Together with the current investment, KAHR has raised a total of $59 million since June 2021 in private placements supported by aMoon Fund, Flerie Invest AB, Peregrine Ventures, BVF Partners LP, DAFNA Capital Management LLC, Consensus Business Group, Hadasit Bio Holdings Ltd (HBL), Mirae Asset, Shavit Capital, Pavilion Capital, Cancer Focus Fund and Remedii.
DSP107 is a dual-targeting fusion protein that activates innate and adaptive immunity by blocking CD47 on cancer cells and utilizing 4-1BB conditional co-stimulatory activation of T-cells. By binding both cancer cells and immune cells, DSP107 combines checkpoint inhibition with tumor-localized immune cell activation to bolster anti-tumor immunity. DSP107 binds to and inhibits CD47, an immune checkpoint protein overexpressed in many cancers that enables the tumor to evade immune recognition and attack by macrophages. Simultaneously, when anchored to the tumor, DSP107 binds 4-1BB, a co-stimulatory receptor expressed on T-cells, recruits them to the tumor microenvironment, and stimulates their activation. These activities result in targeted macrophage and T-cell-mediated immune activation and tumor destruction.
DSP107 has demonstrated an excellent safety profile, no binding to red blood cells, biological activity, and high disease control rates in a Phase I trial of patients with advanced solid tumors. DSP107 is also being tested in combination with Atezolizumab in Phase I/II trials in patients with advanced solid tumors and in combination with standard-of-care therapies for relapsed/refractory AML and MDS patients in a Phase Ib study.
KAHR develops novel dual-targeting fusion protein therapeutics engineered to activate both the innate and the adaptive immune systems simultaneously and localize that response in the tumor microenvironment. KAHR‘s lead product candidate, DSP107, is a CD47x41BB targeting compound. DSP107 is being tested in Phase I/II clinical trial in advanced solid tumors and a Phase Ib clinical trial in blood cancers. KAHR‘s preclinical pipeline includes DSP502, a PVRxPD-L1 targeting fusion protein, and DSP216, an HLA-GxCD47 targeting fusion protein.
KAHR’s technology platform is based on multi-functional immuno-recruitment proteins (MIRP) that utilize overexpression of checkpoint antigens on cancer cells to selectively target and bind to the tumor. MIRPs bridge cancer cells to immune cells to produce a targeted synergistic effect by combining immune checkpoint inhibition with localized immune cell activation, unmasking cancer cell camouflage to enable innate immune response, while recruiting the adaptive immune system to bind and selectively kill the cancer cells.
KAHR‘s technology is based on many years of research by Dr. Michal Dranitzki Elhalel, Head of Nephrology and a senior researcher at the Hadassah Medical Center, and Professor Mark Tykocinski, Dean of the School of Medicine at Jefferson University in Philadelphia, and former Chief of Pathology at the University of Pennsylvania.
Investors in KAHR include Amoon, Flerie Invest AB, Oriella Limited a Consensus Business Group Limited subsidiary, Hadassit Bio Holdings, Pavilion Capital, Mirae Asset, Korean Investment Partners, DSC Investments, and now also the Myeloma Investment Fund (MIF), the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation’s (MMRF) venture philanthropy subsidiary.
About the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF)
A pioneer in personalized medicine, the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) seeks to find a cure for all multiple myeloma patients by relentlessly pursuing innovations that accelerate the development of personalized treatments for cancer. Founded in 1998 by Kathy Giusti, a multiple myeloma patient, and her twin sister Karen Andrews as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the MMRF has created the benchmark business model around cancer—from data to analytics to the clinic. The MMRF identifies barriers and then finds the solutions to overcome them, bringing in the best partners and aligning incentives in the industry to drive better outcomes for patients. Since its inception, the organization has collected thousands of samples and tissues, opened nearly 100 trials, helped bring more than 15 FDA-approved therapies to market, and built CoMMpass, the single largest genomic dataset in myeloma. Today, the MMRF is building on its legacy in genomics and is expanding into immunotherapy, as the combination of these two fields will be critical to making personalized medicine possible for all patients. The MMRF has raised more than $500 million and directs nearly 90% of the total funds to research and related programs.
The Myeloma Investment Fund (MIF) is a venture philanthropy fund that invests in promising companies, clinical assets, and technologies in oncology to drive the development of new therapies for multiple myeloma. The MIF collaborates closely with portfolio companies to help them advance multiple myeloma research. This evergreen fund is supported entirely by philanthropy; all profits will be reinvested back into research for more effective treatments until there is a cure for every patient. For more information, visit Myeloma Investment Fund MyelomaInvestmentFund.org
Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF)
C.J. Volpe, Director, MMRF Director of PR & Communications
203-652-0453 volpec AT themmrf.org
Tsipi Haitovsky, Global Media Liaison, KAHR
+972-52-598-9892 Tsipihai5 AT gmail.com
SOURCE Cision PR Newswire
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