Context Therapeutics Partners With Integral Molecular To Develop An Emerging Cancer Drug

Context Therapeutics Inc. CNTX and Integral Molecular are teaming up to develop an anti-claudin 6 (CLDN6) bispecific monoclonal antibody (BsMAb) for cancer therapy. 

Context Therapeutics’ CLDN6 program is in the research stage but is showing promising signs of becoming a potentially important immunotherapy for gynecological cancers as well as other CLDN6-positive cancers, including testicular, non-small cell lung cancer, gastric cancer, and rare pediatric cancers.  Context estimates that there are approximately 62,500 patients with advanced or metastatic CLDN6-positive cancers in the United States.

Context is a women’s oncology company focused on developing advanced small-molecule and immunotherapy treatments for patients with devastating cancers. The company’s collaboration with Integral Molecular will help drive the CLDN6 program forward. 

Integral Molecular is an industry leader in discovering and characterizing therapeutic antibodies against multipass membrane proteins, a vital component of drugs that target antibodies found on the surfaces of cells and viruses. Integral Molecular has a history of success. It has been part of the discovery pipelines for over 400 biotech and pharmaceutical companies.

Why Context Therapeutics And Integral Molecular Are A Perfect Collaboration

There is a growing number of drugs that are applying antibody modalities to solid tumors as a means of treatment. However, the identification of appropriate tumor-specific targets has proved challenging. This is especially true of the CLDN6 protein due to antigen conformational-dependence and homology to sister Claudin proteins, including CLDN3, CLDN4, and CLDN9. 

Despite the promise of CLDN6 as a target, therapeutic monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) targeting CLDN6 are difficult to discover because of an abundance of closely related family members. There are 26 human CLDN family members. Because of the need for high specificity for successful and safe therapies, it has been difficult for researchers to optimize rare antibodies against CLDN6 that do not cross-react with the other 26 CLDN family members, which may adversely affect patients through unwanted side effects. 

This is why Integral Molecular’s collaboration with Context could be so beneficial. Integral Molecular is able to successfully employ its mononuclear phagocyte system (MPS) antibody discovery platform to isolate antibodies against CLDN6. 

“The structural complexity of CLDN6 and its similarity to other CLDN proteins expressed on healthy tissue have previously limited its exploitation for targeted oncology therapies,” Context CEO Martin Lehr said. “By combining Integral Molecular’s expertise in the field of antibody discovery and Context’s experience developing therapies for women’s cancers, we hope to develop a best-in-class targeted therapeutic for CLDN6-positive gynecologic tumors.”

Context expects IND-enabling studies of the first BsMAb candidate to begin in 2023, with a clinical-stage trial anticipated in 2024. 

“Our CLDN6 monoclonal antibody exhibits best-in-class target selectivity,” Integral Molecular CEO Benjamin Doranz, Ph.D. said. “There is a strong need for therapies that provide more specific and less toxic treatments for gynecologic cancers, and we look forward to our partnership with Context that will enable better treatments for women.”

Context will retain exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize the novel CLDN6 candidates with Integral Molecular eligible to receive certain regulatory and commercial milestones as well as royalties from Context. 

This post contains sponsored advertising content. This content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be investing advice.

Featured photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

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