Compugen (CGEN) Announces Enhancement to LINKS Platform for Myeloid Target Discovery
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Compugen Ltd. (Nasdaq: CGEN) disclosed that its LINKS computational platform, initially designed for the characterization and differentiation of existing novel drug target candidates, has been enhanced to include the in silico discovery of new immuno-oncology drug targets, with a specific focus on the discovery of myeloid targets within the tumor microenvironment (TME). LINKS now allows the Company to broaden its existing repertoire of immune checkpoint targets, which already includes a few myeloid targets, predicted by algorithms and methodologies previously developed by the Company. The myeloid targets, now being experimentally validated by the Company, have the potential to transform cancer treatment in patients that are non-responsive to treatments with current checkpoint inhibitors.
This further development of LINKS, a component of the Company's broad predictive discovery infrastructure, included the integration of additional public and proprietary data in order to allow the identification and analysis of specific immune cell types derived from the TME, and, in particular, myeloid cells. Through the integration of multiple data types across a range of conditions, diseases, stimuli and specific myeloid sub-populations, the enhanced LINKS platform has now demonstrated the capability to predict new in silico myeloid target candidates that have potential utility in cancer immunotherapy.
LINKS, first disclosed in June 2015, was originally designed to allow comprehensive characterization and differentiation of drug target candidates of various types through the integration and analysis of multi-dimensional patient data, including genomic, gene expression and clinical data. The LINKS platform provides disease context and facilitates association of novel drug targets with specific disease conditions, clinical attributes, disease-associated mechanisms-of-action and other key characteristics. The first use of the platform was to differentiate, prioritize and provide further information on the novel immune checkpoint target candidates on T cells or predicted to act on T cells that had already been discovered by Compugen, which are the primary focus of the Company's Pipeline Program.
Dr. Anat Cohen-Dayag, President and CEO of Compugen, explained, "Myeloid biology is an emerging and promising area within the field of immuno-oncology, with only a few known therapeutic targets. Therefore, we and our scientific advisors expect that our discovery of additional myeloid targets will provide opportunities for development of powerful new immuno-oncology therapeutics for patients with cancers possessing a strong immune suppressive environment or that are refractory to available immune checkpoint inhibitors. These opportunities would include both monotherapy and combination therapy, potentially with the combined use of our own pipeline candidates, thus providing the opportunity for multiple differentiated treatment options."
Dr. Cohen-Dayag continued, "The few myeloid cell target candidates already in our current therapeutic pipeline were predicted by us in the past as part of our first focused discovery effort for B7/CD28 immune checkpoints. With the recently enhanced LINKS platform, we have already predicted additional myeloid targets within the tumor microenvironment, which we are currently experimentally validating. This provides another example of the unique advantage of having a broadly applicable in silico target discovery infrastructure which can be quickly enhanced to focus more deeply on specific areas of interest."
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