Agonist Redirected Checkpoint, or ARC, is the name Shattuck has given to the cancer-fighting technology it has developed.
Every gene codes for particular proteins. By fusing together two or more genes, Shattuck creates fusion proteins. They have the combined characteristics of proteins that non-fused genes created individually.
The fusion proteins developed by Shattuck block immune checkpoint inhibitors, which stymie the immune system, and stimulate immune-boosting receptors.
Cancer cells use immune checkpoint inhibitors to prevent the immune system from attacking them. Blocking them can restore immune response.
In addition to blocking checkpoint inhibitors, ARC molecules can activate TNF protein receptors that are located on T-cells and other immune cells. The TNF superfamily of proteins regulates cell survival and response to invaders, and activating them can boost the immune system.
Shattuck and Takeda’s joint research effort will involve two preclinical-trial studies and four clinical trials that Takeda will fund.
The agreement gives Takeda the option of developing and commercializing up to four additional ARC molecules. The companies did not disclose additional terms of the deal.
“Shattuck Labs has pioneered the unique ARC platform, and we are excited about the opportunity this collaboration presents to develop groundbreaking, next-generation immuno-oncology treatments,” Dr. Christopher Arendt, head of Takeda’s immunology therapy development program, said in a press release. “Research partnerships are a key aspect of our continued dedication to oncology innovation, and this collaboration will bring us closer to our goal of discovering, developing and delivering breakthrough oncology therapies.”
“Takeda shares our passion and mission to develop and advance novel therapies in oncology, with the goal of achieving better clinical outcomes in patients,” said Josiah Hornblower, the CEO Shattuck Labs. “We are very excited to work with Takeda, a proven leader in oncology, to continue to validate the ARC technology.”