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August 30, 2018
Source: Press Release, Prague
SOTIO, a biotechnology company owned by the PPF Group, announces today the completion of the acquisition of Cytune Pharma by PPF. SOTIO will continue to develop the lead program SO-C101 (RLI-15) within its pipeline and intends to initiate first-in- human clinical trials in early 2019. SOTIO is spearheading all of PPF’s activities in the biotech sector and closely cooperated during Cytune’s acquisition process. All Cytune projects will be developed as part of SOTIO’s pipeline.
Cytune Pharma develops IL-15 based therapies for the treatment of cancer. The lead molecule of Cytune’s pipeline, SO-C101 (RLI-15), is a human fusion protein of IL-15 and the high-affinity binding domain of IL-15Rα and acts as a specific IL-2/IL-15Rβγ agonist.
The deal announced in 2015 between PPF Group and Cytune involved investments into Cytune and a staged-acquisition of the company, which has now been completed with the acquisition of all outstanding shares of Cytune. Cytune becomes an important part of SOTIO’s activities in the biotech sector and will also closely collaborate with its affiliate Accord Research on the future development of the lead program SO-C101, and other earlier-stage targeted RLI-15 programs. SOTIO is planning to initiate a first-in-human study with SO-C101 in selected European countries and the US in early 2019. A key part of this early clinical program is the combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors.
“We are excited about the completion of the acquisition and welcome Cytune to the PPF Group. Cytune and SOTIO have been closely and very successfully collaborating over the course of the last few years and we very much look forward to initiating the first clinical trials with SO-C101 in a few months,” commented Radek Spisek, CEO of SOTIO. “SO-C101 will become a core program of our pipeline, together with our clinical programs in ovarian, lung and prostate cancer based on our autologous dendritic cell therapy platform DCVAC.”
“I’m proud that our products, originating from INSERM and the University of Nantes and supported by Bpifrance and Atlanpole Biotherapies, hold the potential to lead to new therapeutic options for the treatment of cancer patients. Such IL-2/IL-15Rβγ agonists represent a new and very promising class of drugs in the immune-oncology segment as they have shown to re-induce responses in patients after failure to checkpoint inhibitors treatment,” adds David Bechard, President and COO of Cytune. “The continued financial support by PPF combined with SOTIO’s clinical development expertise will be instrumental in accelerating the development of SO-C101 in multiple clinical trials, ultimately for the benefit of cancer patients.”
The financial terms of the transaction are not disclosed.
Molecule SO-C101 (RLI-15) is a human fusion protein of IL-15 and the high-affinity binding domain of IL-15Rα which acts as a specific agonist of the intermediate-affinity IL-2/IL-15Rβγ. It is a novel immunotherapeutic approach with potential applications in a variety of oncology indications. In preclinical experiments, SO-C101 has been shown to stimulate and induce proliferation of immune effector cells, such as cytotoxic T cells and NK cells, without expanding the CD4+ T regulatory cells. Based on the preclinical experiments, SO-C101 is more potent and better tolerated compared to the unmodified IL-15 or IL-2. SO-C101 and other products based on this platform allow for combinations with other immunotherapeutic strategies, including checkpoint inhibitors.
PPF Group invests into multiple market segments such as banking and financial services, telecommunications, biotechnology, insurance, real estate, and agriculture. PPF’s reach spans from Europe to Russia, the USA and across Asia. PPF Group owns assets exceeding EUR 38 billion (as at 31 December 2017).For more information about PPF visit www.ppf.eu.