Agenus Announces Late-Breaking Oral Presentation at ESMO-GI and Strategies to Advance Botensilimab
LEXINGTON, Mass., May 24, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Agenus Inc. (NASDAQ: AGEN), an immuno-oncology company with an extensive pipeline of therapeutics designed to activate immune response to cancers and infections, today announced that its innate/adaptive immune activator, botensilimab, will be the subject of a late-breaking oral presentation at the upcoming ESMO World Congress on Gastrointestinal Cancer in Barcelona, Spain. In addition, Agenus also announced broad efficiencies expected to reduce costs by 20% and drive botensilimab’s accelerated development.
“MSS colorectal cancer is one of the tumor types where single agent checkpoint inhibitors targeting PD-1/PD-L1 have not shown significant activity; in contrast, we are seeing deep and durable responses using botensilimab and balstilimab in these heavily pretreated MSS colorectal patients,” said Anthony El-Khoueiry, MD, Phase I Program Director at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Keck Medicine of USC. “The activity noted with this combination warrants advancing the program with further trials”.i
“The clinical activity of the combination of botensilimab and balstilimab in heavily pretreated metastatic MSS colorectal cancer is remarkable,” said Dr. Steven O’Day, CMO of Agenus. “Prior PD1 and PDL1 antibodies, with or without CTLA-4, have failed in this same setting. These data in MSS CRC are further supported by emerging clinical data in a wide range of poorly responsive solid tumors. We look forward to advancing botensilimab alone and in combination in the second half of 2022.”
Botensilimab is an immunotherapy with the potential to transform the treatment landscape. A growing body of evidence supports botensilimab’s broad activity in indications inadequately addressed by currently approved treatments, and Agenus is focusing additional resources to accelerate its development. In this regard, Agenus will:
These measures will reduce Agenus’ operating expenses and alow the company to prioritize its high potential programs, while continuing to pursue creative financing mechanisms and/or potential partnerships.
Agenus will also continue to advance clinical collaborations designed to increase the potential value of botensilimab and other clinical programs in new indications and combinations. These studies are sponsored and executed by our partners, with drug supply and scientific support provided by Agenus. Internally, the company will continue to focus on botensilimab combinations which inform its use as a foundational therapy; these combinations include Agenus’ balstilimab (anti-PD-1), AGEN2373 (anti-CD137), and AGEN1571 (anti-ILT2) antibodies, as well as chemotherapy.
“As we enter a period of unprecedented regulatory and financial challenges for the biotech industry, Agenus is poised to differentiate our capabilities and comprehensive portfolio. The enthusiasm GI experts have shown, as evidenced by a prominent presentation at ESMO GI, is very heartening, as is the accelerated patient enrollment in our clinical trials. We believe the value of botensilimab to be unmatched relative to existing therapies and known development candidates, and we are moving with speed to bring this potentially revolutionary treatment to patients in need,” CEO of Agenus, Dr. Garo Armen.
Agenus’ plans include initiation of three phase 2 studies in 2022 (MSS colorectal cancer, melanoma and pancreatic cancer).
i Anthony El-Khoueiry, MD has provided paid consulting services for Agenus. The nature of this conflict and the management of the conflict of interest have been reviewed by the USC Conflict of Interest Review Committee (CIRC).