– UTSW scientists demonstrate that a novel pH-sensitive polymer prolongs STINGmediated activation of innate immunity against solid cancers
– OncoNano Medicine’s ONM-501, containing the polymer and an endogenous STING ligand, could overcome the clinical challenges observed with related immuno-oncology compounds
SOUTHLAKE, Texas – February 10, 2021 – OncoNano Medicine, Inc. today announced that a research paper titled “Prolonged activation of innate immune pathways by a polyvalent STING agonist” published in Nature Biomedical Engineering shows that a pH-sensitive nanoparticlebased drug developed by Dr. Jinming Gao and team at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW) could boost the body’s innate immune pathways in the treatment of multiple cancers with a unique mechanism of activating the STimulator of INterferon Genes (STING). OncoNano licensed this technology from UTSW for further development as part of the company’s proprietary pH-activated micelle platform, and Dr. Gao, a co-founder of OncoNano, currently also serves as a consultant for the company.
“We are excited about the study published by our colleagues at UTSW demonstrating that the STING activating polymeric micelle can be selectively triggered in the endosomes and enter the cytoplasm of phagocytic cells to achieve robust antitumor immunity,” said Marty Driscoll, CEO at OncoNano Medicine, Inc. “The novel polymer component can bind uniquely to the STING target and produce longer activation of this critical innate immune pathway. Our development candidate, ONM-501, utilizes the STING activating pH-sensitive micelle technology encapsulated with an endogenous high affinity ligand to produce a dual and prolonged activation of STING.”
The STING pathway plays a crucial role in mediating the body’s innate immune system. The development of ONM-501 represents a new concept in STING activation that could overcome the challenges observed with earlier STING agonist compounds. ONM-501 micelles enable targeted and efficient delivery of the endogenous ligand and the STING activating polymer to the phagocytic cells in tumors where they are released by low pH-induced micelle dissociation. Preclinical studies have shown that both the polymer and the endogenous ligand payload of ONM-501 bind to and activate the STING protein in the cell in a synergistic manner, enabling activation for up to 48 hours. The polymers bind to a non-competitive STING surface site distinct from the conventional cyclic dinucleotide-binding pocket, and also induce condensation of STING proteins via polyvalent interactions. Preclinical studies showed that ONM-501 used in combination with a checkpoint inhibitor produces an immune response effective in treating multiple cancer types.
OncoNano Medicine, Inc. is developing ONM-501 as a potential immuno-therapeutic treatment for multiple cancers. Development of the core technology of ONM-501, the STING activating polymer, has been partially funded by a grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.
About OncoNano Medicine
OncoNano Medicine is developing a new class of products that exploit pH as a biomarker to diagnose and treat cancer with high specificity. Our product candidates and interventions are designed to help patients across the continuum of cancer care and include solid tumor therapeutics, agents for real-time image-guided surgery and a platform of product candidates that activate and guide the body’s immune system to target cancer. Learn more at www.OncoNano.com.