Study sponsored by ImaginAb supports hypothesis that CD8+ T cells are present throughout the skeletal muscle system in inclusion body myositis
Proprietary ImmunoPET technology developed by ImaginAb provides a more comprehensive view of T cell infiltration than offered by muscle biopsies
Newton, MA, June 30, 2021– Abcuro, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing therapies for autoimmune diseases and cancer through precise modulation of cytotoxic T and NK cells, and ImaginAb, a market leading global provider in immune-oncology imaging agents, today shared initial results of a study demonstrating the use of ImmunoPET technology to image T cell infiltration of skeletal muscle in patients with inclusion body myositis (IBM). IBM is an autoimmune disease in which cytotoxic CD8+ T cells chronically attack muscle cells, leading to progressive weakness and severe disability.
This news announcement follows the signing of a new non-exclusive license agreement in February 2021 for ImaginAb to supply Abcuro with its market leading CD8 ImmunoPET agent. The proprietary first in class ImmunoPET imaging agent allows non-invasive, whole-body imaging CD8+ T cells using positron emission tomography (PET). The technology, initially designed to visualize these cells in cancer patients, can now provide a non-invasive assessment of the extent of infiltration of CD8+ T cells in skeletal muscle in IBM patients.
“The ability to comprehensively identify infiltration of CD8+ T cells in skeletal muscle represents a breakthrough in our understanding of IBM pathogenesis and supports development of novel therapeutics,” said Steven A. Greenberg, M.D., co-founder of Abcuro and Chief Scientific Advisor. “Abcuro intends to use this imaging strategy as it advances ABC008, an anti-KLRG1 antibody capable of selectively depleting a subpopulation of highly-cytotoxic CD8+ T cells present in muscle tissue of IBM patients, through a first-in-human clinical trial for IBM.”
Ron Korn, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical Imaging Officer at ImaginAB stated, “Our proprietary antibody-fragment imaging technology binds to and illuminates the specific immune cell type that is central to the etiology of IBM. The ability to image the entire landscape of skeletal muscle in IBM patients enrolled in their trials enables Abcuro to comprehensively assess the presence of CD8+ T cells prior to and following dosing of ABC008, which seeks to address the underlying biological driver of IBM.”
The imaging study was led by Colin Quinn, M.D., Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology and Director of Neuromuscular Clinical Trials at the University of Pennsylvania.
“The understanding of IBM as a T cell-driven autoimmune disease has enabled use of PET imaging to provide a highly specific, whole-body view of CD8+ T cells, the presence of which is a potentially distinguishing feature in affected muscle tissue,” said Dr. Quinn.
Abcuro is a clinical stage biotechnology company developing first-in-class immunotherapies for autoimmune diseases and cancer through precise modulation of T and NK cells that express KLRG1 (killer cell lectin like receptor G1). In certain autoimmune diseases, KLRG1-expressing T cells are a source of chronic tissue damage. In oncology, tumor cells that express E- or N- cadherin inhibit anti-tumor activity of T and NK cells via their KLRG1 receptor, which is an immune checkpoint inhibitory receptor. KLRG1 was identified as a compelling target with relevance to disease biology through Abcuro’s powerful use of patient clinical data and patient tissue transcriptome analyses derived from discrete, pathological immune cell subpopulations. For more information, visit abcuro.com.
ImaginAb Inc. is a biotechnology company focused on developing radiopharmaceutical imaging and therapy agents. ImaginAb engineers antibody fragments called minibodies that maintain the exquisite specificity of full-length antibodies while remaining biologically inert in the body. Used with widely available PET scan technology, these novel minibodies illuminate high-value molecular targets, providing physicians with a whole-body picture of immune activity. ImaginAb is advancing a pipeline of minibodies against oncology and immunology targets including the 89Zr CD8 ImmunoPET targeting CD8 T cells. ImaginAb’s products have the potential to improve patient care and lower healthcare costs. The Company is backed by top tier venture capital firms and strategic corporate firms including, Adage Capital, The Cycad Group, Norgine ventures Jim Pallotta of the Raptor Group, The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, and Merck (MSD) Pharma.
For more information about ImaginAb’s pipeline and technology, visit imaginab.com.
About CD8 ImmunoPET
The 89Zr CD8 Immuno-PET agent ([89Zr]-Df-Crefmirlimab) is a [89Zr]-labeled minibody that binds the CD8 receptor on human T cells and is used for quantitative, non-invasive PET imaging of CD8 T cells in patients. CD8 T cells are the main effector cells involved in the immune response against tumor cells induced by immunotherapies and they also play a key role in multiple autoimmune diseases. As such, quantitative imaging of CD8 T cells can be used to diagnose the immune status of a patient, to measure the efficacy of immunotherapies and predict patient outcomes.