The mAbs in question are CRB-601 and CRB-602 that target integrins to inhibit activation of transforming growth factor β (TGFβ), a multifunctional cytokine involved in many cellular processes, including cell growth and differentiation, immune responses, wound healing, and tissue repair.
Corbus said TGFβ plays a key role in fibrosis and also promotes cancer growth and metastasis via its effects in the tumor microenvironment (TME).
The Norwood, Massachusetts company’s current pipeline includes small molecules that activate or inhibit the endocannabinoid.
Under the combined terms of the two exclusive licensing agreements, Corbus will pay US$2m upfront and will make potential development and sales milestone payments totaling up to around US$206m. It will also pay low single-digit royalties on sales.
Corbus said this new integrin program, in addition to the existing endocannabinoid system program, strengthens and diversifies its immunology pipeline for inflammatory, fibrotic, and metabolic diseases, and cancer.
Monoclonal antibodies: CRB-601 and CRB-602
CRB-601 was rationally designed by Dr Stephen Nishimura and his colleagues at the University of California San Francisco and is potent at picomolar concentrations in inhibiting activation of TGFβ
Corbus said it plans to develop CRB-601 for treatment of solid tumors in combination with existing therapies, including checkpoint inhibitors. Phase 1 studies are expected to start in 2022.
CRB-602 was developed by Panorama Research Inc. to specifically inhibit both avb6 and avb8. Both avb6 and avb8 have been implicated in fibrotic diseases and in cancers of epithelial cell origin, said Corbus. “We believe targeting both integrins at once is a rational approach to treating fibrotic diseases and carcinomas. Phase 1 studies are expected to start in 2022.”