With the approval of immune checkpoint inhibitors, immunotherapies have entered mainstream oncology. Justifiable excitement has surrounded the entry of anti-cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA-4) and anti-Programmed Cell Death Protein (PD-1) monoclonal antibodies into the market. However, the sobering reality is that the majority of patients will not respond to these therapies, or will progress within the first year. Additional therapies are therefore needed to increase the percentage of responding patients, extend the duration of responses, expand therapeutic activity into tumor types that are immunologically "cold", and treat patients who are refractory to checkpoint inhibitors.
Combining checkpoint inhibitors can improve anti-tumor activity, but also increases the risk of immune related adverse events. Immuno-oncology agents with novel mechanisms of action however may offer potential options for combination with checkpoint inhibitors (and standard of care chemotherapies) in patients unresponsive to checkpoint inhibitors.
Peter Van Vlasselaer, PhD, will discuss the efforts of ARMO BioSciences, Inc. to develop immunotherapies for difficult-to-treat oncology indications. The companyís lead immunotherapy, AM0010, is a PEGylated form of recombinant human IL-10 that primes the tumor micro-environment for immune-mediated therapies. It has demonstrated durable clinical responses in several types of cancer, as both a single agent and in combination with anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibodies and standard-of-care chemotherapies. ARMO plans to initiate the first of several registration-enabling studies for AM0010 in solid tumors, and is developing a robust pipeline including therapeutic cytokines and an anti-PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor.
Peter Van Vlasselaer, PhD has over 20 years of experience in the biotech industry and is currently CEO of ARMO BioSciences. Previously, he was CEO of iPierian, ARRESTO and AVIDIA. In addition to founding ARMO, Dr. Van Vlasselaer was a co-founder of Arresto, TrueNorth and ACIR BioSciences and a member of the start-up teams of InterMune (ITMN) and Dendreon (DNDN). He currently serves on the boards of ARMO, TrueNorth, and Blade Therapeutics.
Dr. Van Vlasselaer has a degree in Zoology and a PhD in Immunology from the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. He has authored several peer reviewed scientific publications and book chapters and is an inventor on multiple patents.