Shanghai, February 22, 2019, Elpiscience Biopharma, Ltd. announced today that the bispecific antibody ES101 has been approved by the Center for Drug Evaluation (CDE) for clinical trials in China. ES101 is a first-in-class, bispecific antibody targeting both PD-L1 and 4-1BB, where 4-1BB-induced T cell activation is dependent on the binding to PD-L1 in the tumor microenvironment. The combination of "de-brake" and "add-gas" ideas not only greatly improved the efficacy of the drug, but also avoided the toxicity that 4-1BB single agent may have. This would solve the problem that 4-1BB monoclonal antibodies have encountered in clinical development. In the mean time, on February 19th, Inhibrx, Elpiscience’s US partner of ES101, announced the dosing of first patient of ES101 in the US. With ES101 being tested in clinical trials both in China and the US, it is expected to benefit cancer patients worldwide.
Dr. Darren Ji, CEO of Elpiscience, said: “ES101 represents the arrival of the next generation of cancer immunotherapy beyond PD-1/PD-L1. As a first-in-class bispecific antibody, ES101 is expected to bring a transformative treatment to cancer patients on top of the existing therapies. We are delighted to witness this historical moment, which would have marked a small step for Elpiscience and its partner, and a giant leap for patients.”
ES101 is a tetravalent bispecific antibody that contains four binding domains, two targeting PD-L1 and two targeting 4-1BB, with a molecular weight being only two-thirds of that of an conventional antibody. Based on the high expression of PD-L1 in the tumor microenvironment and an unique antibody engineering, ES101 can conditionally activate 4-1BB upon binding to PD-L1. This would allow for a more efficient tumor killing by immune cells.
Elpiscience is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focusing on cancer immunotherapy. The company is committed to leading the innovation and development of the next generation of cancer immunotherapies for the benefit of cancer patients worldwide. Elpscience’s first therapeutic product ES101 has entered into clinical trial, and the second innovative product ES102 is IND ready. Elpiscience has a pipeline of more than 10 innovative molecules in discovery, covering a wide range of targets with a particular focus on innate immunity and tumor microenvironment. Elpiscience’s sustainable pipeline forms a strong cornerstone for developing the next generation and more effective immunotherapies. Founded and managed by seasoned executives in the biopharma industry, Elpiscience is backed by top investors such as Lilly Asia Ventures, Hillhouse Capital and CDH Investment.