KAHR Receives Investment from Cancer Focus Fund to Support Phase 1/2 Study of KAHR’s Lead Anti-CD47 Candidate in Blood Cancers
JERUSALEM and HOUSTON, May 26, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — KAHR, a clinical-stage cancer immunotherapy company developing novel bi-functional fusion proteins, and Cancer Focus Fund, LP, a unique venture capital fund established in collaboration with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (MD Anderson) to provide funding and clinical expertise to advance promising cancer therapies, today announced that Cancer Focus Fund is investing $5 million to finance a clinical trial of KAHR’s lead anti-CD47 candidate, DSP107, in blood cancers.
The Cancer Focus Fund investment will support a Phase 1/2 clinical study assessing KAHR’s first-in-class CD47x41BB targeting agent in the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and T-cell lymphoproliferative diseases. Cancer Focus Fund is receiving a combination of equity and future payments from KAHR based on DSP107 achieving certain milestones.
“KAHR’s multi-functional immuno-recruitment fusion proteins exemplify the innovative approach to cancer we seek to support,” said Ross Barrett, a founder and Managing Partner of Cancer Focus Fund. “DSP107 uniquely delivers a multilayered attack by binding cancer cells and T-cells to produce a targeted synergistic effect, combining immune checkpoint inhibition with selective T-cell activation. It has demonstrated encouraging activity in preclinical models, and we welcome the opportunity to support its clinical assessment in blood cancers.”
“We are honored to collaborate with Cancer Focus Fund, which has invested in KAHR and through its partnership with MD Anderson, contributed expertise in the planning of this Phase 1/2 clinical trial,” said Yaron Pereg, PhD, CEO of KAHR. “This marks our second clinical study for DSP107, which is currently being investigated in a Phase 1/2 trial as monotherapy and in combination with Roche’s PD-L1-blocking checkpoint inhibitor atezolizumab (Tecentriq®) in solid tumors. We look forward to expanding the clinical development program for our lead product and initiating this study in hematological malignancies in collaboration with MD Anderson.”
The study will be conducted at MD Anderson under the direction of Naval Daver, MD, Associate Professor in the Department of Leukemia. The two-part open label, dose escalation and expansion study is expected to enroll up to 112 patients. The first part will evaluate the safety, efficacy, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of DSP107 as monotherapy and in combination with azacytidine in patients with relapsed/refractory AML, MDS or chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML). In the second part, the trial will assess the efficacy of DSP107 as monotherapy and in combination with azacytidine or with azacytidine plus venetoclax in patients with previously untreated AML or MDS, and in patients with relapsed/refractory MDS, CMML and T-cell lymphoproliferative diseases.
DSP107 is a first-in-class CD47x41BB targeting compound that simultaneously targets cancer cells, weakens their innate defenses and activates an effective, local response of both innate and adaptive immunity. DSP107 targets CD47-overexpressing tumors, simultaneously blocking macrophage inhibitory signals and delivering an immune costimulatory signal to tumor antigen-specific, activated T-cells. CD47 is overexpressed on many cancer cells and binds SIRPα on immune phagocytic cells to produce a “don’t eat me” signal. DSP107 binds CD47 on cancer cells, blocking interaction with SIRPα and thus, blocking the “don’t eat me signal”. Simultaneously, DSP107 binds 41BB on T-cells, stimulating their activation. These activities lead to targeted immune activation through both macrophage and T-cell.