In addition to exploring Plinabulin’s therapeutic potential in combination with immuno-oncology agents, we have a pipeline of preclinical immuno-oncology product candidates and have utilized our research collaborators to advance these programs.
Our BPI-002 program is based on an oral small molecule agent, similar to a CTLA-4 antibody, which induces T-cell activation and preclinical studies have shown that it is synergistic to checkpoint inhibitors in immune competent colon cancer animal model. BPI-002 is currently in preclinical studies and we plan to initiate a clinical study in 2019.
Our IKK program, BPI-003, is based on a novel small molecule inhibitor of IKK, a protein kinase. IKK is involved in survival of some tumor cells as well as in the production of a number of cytokines and growth factors that serve as survival factors for various tumors. Our IKK inhibitor has shown promising activity in multiple animal models of pancreatic cancer.
Our BPI-004 program is focused on a small molecule that induces the production of neo-antigens by tumor cells, allowing tumors containing no immune cells to be infiltrated by the immune system. A large proportion of human cancers do not produce antigens that are recognized by the immune system. As a result, these tumors do not respond to treatments that work through interaction with the patient’s immune response. For example, these tumors will not respond to treatment with PD-1 inhibitors. A treatment that induces the tumor cells to produce antigens has the potential to make these cancers responsive to PD-1 inhibitors.