Following a strong vision.
Immutep, formerly Prima BioMed, was originally created as a mining company (Prima Resources) in Australia in 1987, and was first publicly traded in 1988 on the Australian Stock Exchange. The Company was repositioned as biotechnology company in 2001 following the acquisition of the rights to develop technologies from the Austin Research Institute (now the Burnet Institute), including immunotherapeutic product candidate CVac.
In 2014, Prima BioMed acquired Immutep SA, a private French biotechnology company, effectively transforming the company from a single product cancer vaccine developer (CVac) to a multi-product, global leader in LAG-3 immunotherapy.
Immutep SA was formed in France in 2001 as a spin-off from Institut Gustave Roussy, the largest cancer centre in Europe, and Serono (now Merck Serono). Immutep had an R&D laboratory near Paris, the Company’s current R&D operations, and was exclusively focused on LAG-3 related research and development.
During the above period, Immutep SA filed patent applications protecting different patent families covering LAG-3 and its derivatives in cancer immunotherapy and LAG-3 antibodies in autoimmune disease and transplantation resulting in a robust LAG-3 related intellectual property portfolio. Many of these patents have now been granted and additional patent applications have been filed since then covering new applications in cancer immunotherapy including combinations with PD-1 pathway inhibitors (checkpoint inhibitors).
In May 2016, the Company divested all of its CVac related assets to New York-based Sydys Corporation. In November 2017, shareholders approved changing the Company’s name from Prima BioMed to Immutep reflecting the new strategic focus of the business following the acquisition of Immutep SA in 2014.
Today, Immutep is the only LAG-3 pure-play biotech company in the industry, with more programs than any other organisation in the field, including big pharma. The LAG-3 therapeutic target is seeing growing interest from partners and investors since its 2021 validation as the next emerging immunotherapy target after a clinical trial confirmed the interaction between LAG-3 and MHC II (the ligand that LAG-3 naturally binds to) can be manipulated to help the body’s immune system fight cancer.