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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Compugen Drug Candidate CGEN-15001 Demonstrates Attenuation of Autoimmunity and Reestablishment of Immune Balance

Earlier this year, I was asked if Compugen's opening of a US facility for the development of monoclonal antibody (mAb) drug candidates against Compugen-discovered targets was due to lack of progress involving the company's protein therapeutics. I explained that the contrary was true: Compugen established the California operation owing to the success of its protein therapeutics program.

As I tried to explain in an earlier blog entry (http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2012/08/monoclonal-antibodies-for-dummies-like.html), there is a relationship between autoimmune diseases (the current focus of Compugen's protein therapeutics program) and cancer (the current focus of Compugen's monoclonal antibody program). If our immune systems overreact, our bodies can be savaged by autoimmune diseases. If our immune systems fail in their mission to detect intruders owing to surreptitious attempts to disguise pathogens, various kinds of cancer can proliferate.

Moreover, to the extent that test results for Compugen's novel B7/CD28-like proteins are successful, the potential of Compugen's novel mAb targets, which are the basis for its protein therapeutic candidates, is enhanced.

This past Monday, Compugen announced:

"Mode of action studies for CGEN-15001 demonstrated both the active suppression of pathogenic immune responses and the reestablishment of immune balance by increasing anti-inflammatory mediators and promoting inducible regulatory T cells (iTregs). Modulation of iTregs is considered an extremely promising approach for treatment of autoimmunity and cancer, and therefore has been the focus of intense industry and academic research in recent years."

What is the significance of this announcement for me?

First, in order to maximize the value of its novel B7/CD28-like proteins, each of which is distinct, Compugen needs to determine their individual modes of action, thereby establishing differentiation among the candidates. The results announced by Compugen for CGEN-15001, which is a first-in-class candidate, plainly demonstrate progress in determining its mode of action.

Second, the successful results for CGEN-15001 add to the potential of CGEN-15001T, the membrane protein from which CGEN-15001 derives. CGEN-15001T is being pursued by Compugen as a monoclonal antibody target and was discovered to be over expressed in prostate cancer, melanoma, Hodgkin's lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Third, the results achieved by Compugen for its B7/CD28-like protein therapeutic candidates and its inventory of monoclonal antibody targets serve to validate Compugen's predictive discovery model, which I am convinced is of critical importance for future drug and diagnostic discovery.

[As noted in prior blog entries, I am a Compugen shareholder, this blog entry is not a recommendation to buy or sell Compugen shares, and in September 2009 I began work as a part-time external consultant to Compugen. The opinions expressed herein are mine and are based on publicly available information. This blog entry has not been authorized, approved or reviewed prior to posting by Compugen.]

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