by Lauren Evans


Immutep (ASX:IMM) has granted a Japanese patent for its IMP761, an immunosuppressive agonist antibody targeting LAG-3 for autoimmune diseases.

The biotech company said that the IMP761 has the potential to address the root cause of autoimmune diseases by specifically silencing autoimmune memory T cells that accumulate at the disease site, and which express LAG-3 as an “exhaustion marker” after being repeatedly stimulated with dominant self-peptides.

The new Japanese patent follows the European patent granted in October 2020. The expiry date of the patent is September 1, 2036.

In early 2019, Immutep had reported encouraging pre-clinical results from its studies with IMP761. The in vivo studies showed that IMP761 decreases inflammatory T cell infiltration induced by intra-dermal injection of an antigen.

In December 2021, Immutep announced that it had appointed Northway Biotech to develop a GMP compliant manufacturing process and to manufacture IMP761 in large scale bioreactors, ahead of the commencement of clinical testing of the candidate in autoimmune diseases.

“We continue to take important steps to protect our pre-clinical candidate IMP761, which is the first product candidate to act as a LAG-3 agonist, a novel mechanism of drug action that we believe can act directly to treat the root cause of autoimmune diseases,” said chief executive officer Marc Voigt.

“Of course, the LAG-3 immune control mechanism has attracted a great deal of attention in recent months because of the approval by the FDA of the first LAG-3 related product in immuno-oncology.”

“With deep expertise in LAG-3 biology, four LAG3 product candidates in development, and a comprehensive patent estate, Immutep is well placed to make important contributions to this rapidly emerging field of immunotherapy – in both cancer and autoimmune diseases.”

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