ImaginAb, Inc., a biotechnology company developing powerful antibody technology for in vivo imaging, has announced it has entered into an exclusive technology development partnership with Novotectid GmbH, for the production of antibody-based T cell imaging agents, directed specifically at CD4+ T cells.
“Our collaboration with Novotectid expands ImaginAb’s capability to precisely diagnose and determine therapeutic options in both the immune-oncology and autoimmune disease areas. The ability to image CD4+ T-cells will also broaden the potential scope of several our important pharma collaborations, particularly for autoimmune diseases,” Christian Behrenbruch, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of ImaginAb said in a company press release.
Two major subsets of T cells exist: CD8+ and CD4+ T cells. CD8 T cells make up to 30-40% of peripheral T cells and are usually referred to as cytotoxic T cells. These cells have lytic capacity and can recognize and eliminate altered self cells, such as virus-infected cells and tumor cells.
By contrast, CD4+ T cells, which make up to 60-70% of peripheral T cells, have a crucial role in the regulation of cellular and humoral immune responses, due to their ability to produce multiple cytokines. These cells have been proven to play a crucial role in the tumor microenvironment, contributing to immunologic tolerance of tumor cell proliferation.
Imaging of CD4+ cells can hold a strong potential to become an effective method for both patient selection and therapeutic response assessment in a variety of clinically relevant diseases.
“We believe that CD4 imaging has broad applicability to further understand how to treat diseases that have an immunological underpinning. To date, we have demonstrated a viable clinical proof of concept, safety and tolerability for imaging CD4+ cells with a monoclonal antibody fragment in arthritis patients. We have chosen to partner with ImaginAb in order to improve the manufacturability and clinical deployment of our technology, and to leverage several key biopharma collaborations,” Michael Lutz PhD, CEO of Novotectid added in the press release.
Professor Anna Wu, PhD, Chief Scientist and Co-founder of ImaginAb concluded, “For patients with diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, there are no real effective or empirical methods for measuring treatment response. CD4 immunoPET imaging has the potential to identify the patients most suitable for a variety of commercially significant drugs such as anti-TNFs, and monitor therapeutic efficacy. This will also impact the clinical development of ‘next generation’ RA therapies currently under development, improving patient outcomes and reducing the cost to the healthcare system.”