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아브큐로, 시리즈A 4200만弗.."KLRG1 타깃 치료제 개발" - 바이오스펙테이터

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아브큐로, 시리즈A 4200만弗.."KLRG1 타깃 치료제 개발"

입력 2021-01-11 16:51 수정 2021-01-11 16:51

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KLRG1 타깃 세포독성 T세포 억제제 ‘ABC008’ 및 다발성 골수종 치료제 ‘ABC015’ 개발

아브큐로(Abcuro)가 지난 7일(현지시간) 4200만달러규모의 시리즈A 투자를 마감하고, 이사회 회장(Executive Chair of the Board of Directors)에 John B. Edwards, CEO에 David de Graaf을 임명했다.

이번 시리즈A 투자는 Mass General Brighman ventures와 Sanofi Ventures가 공동 리드했으며, Pontifax Venture Capital, Hongsen Investment Group, RA Capital Management, Samsara BioCapital 등이 참여했다.

아브큐로는 유치한 투자금을 회사의 자가면역질환 및 암 치료제 프로그램 ‘ABC008’와 ‘ABC015’의 개발과 임상에 사용할 계획이다. 두 프로그램은 KLRG1(Killer cell lectin-like receptor 1)이라는 수용체를 타깃하는 항체로, 자가면역질환을 유발하는 면역세포의 활성을 억제하거나 제거한다.

▲아브큐로의 파이프라인 'ABC008'과 'ABC015' (아브큐로 홈페이지 캡쳐)

특정 자가면역질환에서 KLRG1을 발현하는 T세포는 만성적인 조직손상의 원인이며, 종양학적 측면에서 E- 혹은 N- 카트헤린(cadherin)을 발현하는 암세포가 T세포와 NK세포의 항암활성을 KLRG1 수용체를 통해 억제한다. 즉, KLRG1은 면역관문억제제(Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor)의 수용체 역할을 하는 셈이다.

드 그라프(De Graaf) 아브큐로의 CEO는 “KLRG1은 임상적으로 관련 있는 세포독성 T세포 및 NK세포를 정확하게 타깃할 수 있기 때문에 자가면역질환과 암질환의 면역 조절에 있어 강력한 표적이다”라고 설명했다.

아브큐로의 ‘ABC008’은 자가면역 질환에서 정상적인 조직을 공격하는 세포독성 T세포를 제거하기 위한 anti-KLRG1 항체다. 아브큐로는 치료제 후보물질에 대한 추가적인 적응증을 조사하는 동시에, 봉입체 근육염(Inclusion Body Myositis, IBM) 환자를 대상으로 작용기전 확인(Proof of Mechanism, POM) 및 안전성을 확인하기 위한 임상을 진행할 계획이다. IBM은 T세포가 정상적인 근육 섬유를 공격하여 손 근육과 다리 근육의 기능을 상실하는 질환으로, 코르티코스테로이드(corticosteroid)나 다른 자가면역 치료제가 효과가 없어 현재로는 치료제가 없다.

아브큐로는 이번 시리즈A 투자금을 효과독성 T세포(effector cytotoxic T cell) 및 NK세포의 기능을 재활성화시켜 항암 면역반응을 유도할 수 있는 anti-KLRG1 항체 ‘ABC015’의 전임상 개발에도 사용될 예정이다. 아브큐로는 ‘ABC105’를 다발성 골수종(Multiple myeloma)과 고형암을 대상으로 개발할 계획이다.

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