Immutep Quarterly Activities Report
April 19th 2021
- Safely dosed the last HNSCC patient for Stage 2 of Part C of the TACTI-002 Phase II study (also designated KEYNOTE-798)
- Initiated enrolment of first line NSCLC patients for the expansion arm of Part A of TACTI-002
- Commenced recruitment of second line NSCLC patients for Stage 2 of Part B of TACTI-002
- Advancement of the Phase II EAT COVID trial into the randomised portion of the study
- Robust operational and financial position, with $51.7 million in cash as of 31 March 2021, providing cash runway beyond the end of calendar year 2022
Sydney, AUSTRALIA, April 19, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Immutep Limited (ASX: IMM; NASDAQ: IMMP) ("Immutep” or “the Company”), a biotechnology company developing novel immunotherapy treatments for cancer and autoimmune disease, provides an update on the ongoing development of its product candidates, eftilagimod alpha (“efti” or “IMP321”) and IMP761, and the activities of its partners for the quarter ended March 31, 2021.
“We continue to lead the world in the development of different LAG-3 related therapies, with a robust pipeline of exciting clinical stage programs and promising data. Throughout the quarter ended 31 March 2021, we have been extremely active advancing and expanding upon these clinical programs, building upon our data generated last year” said Marc Voigt, CEO of Immutep. “We are well-positioned for long-term success, as we have a steady stream of positive data advancing our clinical studies, and decades of experience across our clinical team, which includes the discoverer of the LAG-3 immune control mechanism, as well as a strengthened balance sheet.”
“There has recently been broad industry coverage of positive Phase II/III data from another company’s LAG-3 program to treat melanoma, which we’re pleased to say further validates targeting the LAG-3 pathway to enhance the immune response. While they have additional data to announce, what has been discussed to-date further supports our knowledge of the LAG-3 mechanism and is in line with our MSD collaboration to develop a combination of KEYTRUDA® with efti. This year is shaping up to be an exciting period for the clinical development of LAG-3 therapies,” added Dr. Frederic Triebel, CSO/CMO of Immutep.
Efti Development Program Updates
Immutep recently further strengthened its IP profile for lead active immunotherapy candidate efti, which is a soluble LAG-3 fusion protein (LAG-3Ig). In particular, in March 2021, the United States Patent & Trademark Office granted a new patent number 10,940,181, which is entitled “Combined Preparations for the Treatment of Cancer or Infection”. The patent was filed as a divisional application and follows the grant of the parent patent announced on 30 December 2020. The claims of this new patent build on the protection provided by the parent patent and are patent protecting Immutep’s methods of treating cancer by administering efti and a PD-1 pathway inhibitor: either pembrolizumab (KEYTRUDA®) or nivolumab. The expiry date of the patent is 20 January 2036 (including a patent term adjustment of 12 days).
TACTI-002 (Two Active Immunotherapies, also designated KEYNOTE-798) - Phase II clinical trial
The TACTI-002 study is evaluating the combination of efti with KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab), the anti-PD-1 therapy from Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA (known as “MSD” outside the United States and Canada), in first and second line non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and second line head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). This study is being conducted in collaboration with MSD, which refers to the study as “Keynote-798”.
Patients participate in one of three parts:
Part A - First Line NSCLC, PD-X naive
Recruitment of an additional 74 first line NSCLC patients was initiated in accordance with Part A of the TACTI-002 collaboration trial expansion plans announced on 19 November 2020, adding to the 36 patients already enrolled prior to the expansion. Immutep and MSD expanded Part A of the TACTI-002 study following the encouraging results presented at the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer's (SITC) Congress in November 2020.
Part B - Second Line NSCLC, PD-X refractory
Immutep decided to expand Part B of TACTI-002, under the study’s Simon’s two-stage clinical trial design. The Company recently commenced recruitment of an additional 13 second line NSCLC patients, forming Stage 2 of Part B. The decision follows a preliminary safety and efficacy review by the Data Monitoring Committee and its recommendation, based on the patients recruited in Stage 1 of Part B.
Part C - Second Line HNSCC
The last patient was safely dosed for Stage 2 of Part C of TACTI-002. This completes recruitment for Part C of the study. The Company continues to be excited by this study, as it recently announced encouraging interim data from TACTI-002 at the SITC 2020 Congress. Specifically, the data from second line HNSCC patients was very robust and forms an excellent basis for additional clinical development in this cancer type.
Additional data from TACTI-002 is expected in H1 2021.
TACTI-003 (Two Active Immunotherapies) - Phase IIb clinical trial - First Line HNSCC
Immutep will also conduct a new randomised, controlled Phase IIb clinical study in approximately 160 first line HNSCC patients, which is a more commercially relevant indication than second line HNSCC. This study will evaluate the safety and efficacy of efti when given in combination with MSD’s KEYTRUDA®, compared to KEYTRUDA® alone. TACTI-003 will be executed in 20+ clinical sites in the United States, Australia and Europe, and study is expected to start in mid-2021.
This is Immutep’s second collaboration with MSD for a combination of KEYTRUDA® and efti.
EAT COVID - Phase II clinical trial
The investigator-initiated Phase II clinical trial being conducted by the University Hospital Pilsen in the Czech Republic advanced from the safety run and into the randomised portion of the study, which is evaluating efti in up to 110 hospitalised patients with COVID-19.
In January 2021 Immutep reported that the independent Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) had completed a safety run-in data review of the first six patients from the Phase II clinical trial of Eftilagimod Alpha Treatment by immune modulation in COVID-19 disease (EAT COVID). Following this data review, the DSMB recommended that the study advance with enrolment for the randomised portion of the study. All six patients (age range, 50-83 years; 2 women and 4 men) received the three planned 10 mg efti injections and were since discharged from hospital with no adverse events reported.
As announced in January 2021, GSK stopped its Phase II clinical trial evaluating GSK2831781 (derived from Immutep’s IMP731 antibody) in ulcerative colitis based on the assessment of clinical data as part of a planned interim analysis conducted in consultation with the trial’s Data Review Committee. Immutep’s collaboration with GSK remains in place and GSK2831781 continues to be under an exclusive license with GSK.
Selected for its in-depth LAG-3 expertise and knowledge, Immutep entered into a Licence and Collaboration Agreement with Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings, known as LabCorp, to support its development of immuno-oncology products or services in October 2020.
LabCorp co-authored with Bristol Myers Squibb an abstract released in March 2021 on the distribution and prevalence of LAG-3 expression in samples of melanoma and gastric/gastroesophageal junction cancer for the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2021.
Immutep’s other licensing partnerships with Novartis, EOC Pharma and CYTLIMIC continue to progress well.
Financial Summary - Q3 FY21
Cash receipts from customers for the quarter was $59k, compared to $336k in Q2 (i.e. the quarter ended 31 December 2020).
The net cash used in G&A activities in the quarter was $242k compared to $1.82 million in Q2. The significant decrease compared with last quarter is mainly due to the prepayment of certain annual expenses in Q2. G&A costs for the quarter includes $125k in payment of Non-Executive Director’s fees and Executive Director’s remuneration.
The net cash used in Research and Development activities in the quarter was $1.74 million, compared to $3.18 million in Q2. Year to date cash flow used in R&D activities for the 9 months from July 2020 to March 2021 was $7.0 million compared to $16.1 million for the 9 months from July 2019 to March 2020. The decline is mainly due to the declining AIPAC expenses since patients in the AIPAC Phase IIb clinical trial have completed the treatment and moved into the follow-up phase. The cash used in R&D activities is expected to increase with the commencement of the new Phase IIb TACTI-003 clinical trial.
Total net cash outflows used in operating activities in the quarter was $3.05 million. In comparison, total net cash outflows from operating activities in Q2 was $5.58 million.
The cash and cash equivalent balance as at 31 March 2021 was $51.7 million compared to a balance of $54.9 million as at 31 December 2020.
Immutep is in an excellent financial position with a cash runway into calendar year 2023 and beyond several significant data read-outs.
Immutep is a globally active biotechnology company that is a leader in the development of LAG-3 related immunotherapeutic products for the treatment of cancer, infectious disease and autoimmune disease. Immutep is dedicated to leveraging its technology and expertise to bring innovative treatment options to market for patients and to maximize value to shareholders. Immutep is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (IMM), and on the NASDAQ (IMMP) in the United States.
Immutep’s current lead product candidate is eftilagimod alpha (“efti” or “IMP321”), a soluble LAG-3 protein, which is a first-in-class antigen presenting cell (APC) activator being explored in cancer and infectious disease. Immutep is also developing an agonist of LAG-3 (IMP761) for autoimmune disease. Additional LAG-3 products, including antibodies for immune response modulation, are being developed by Immutep’s large pharmaceutical partners.
Further information can be found on the Company’s website www.immutep.com or by contacting:
Catherine Strong, Citadel-MAGNUS
+61 (0)406 759 268; firstname.lastname@example.org
Tim McCarthy, LifeSci Advisors
+1 (212) 915.2564; email@example.com