Paris, March 21st, 2017 – Stimunity, Institut Curie and Inserm are pleased to announce that the company has signed an exclusive worldwide license agreement on two key patents that cover Stimunity’s core technology VLP-cGAMP to develop new drugs in immuno-oncology.
All started with a fundamental discovery made by the laboratory Innate Immunity at Institut Curie, leads by Dr. Nicolas Manel, Senior Researcher at Inserm and co-founder of Stimunity. He discovered that viruses, when they infect healthy cells, can encapsulate a molecule that acts like a Trojan horse and triggers the defenses of the immune system. This discovery was protected and covered by two major publications in the scientific journal Science. “This discovery gave us the idea of using a synthetic and inoffensive virus-like particle (VLP) that encapsulates the Trojan horse molecule and drives a very efficient immune response against tumor cells. This was the starting point of the project” explains Dr. Manel.
“From a discovery to a drug that can be used in human, there is so much work to do. That’s why we have decided with Nicolas to join our forces and to create a startup company” says Sylvain Carlioz, co-founder and CEO of Stimunity. The project was supported since the beginning by the Technology Transfer Office (TTO) of Institut Curie. “The scientific rational was validated by Dr. Sebastian Amigorena, Director of the Institut Curie – INSERM “Immunity and Cancer” research unit and also by the Institut Curie International Scientific Advisory Board member, Pr. Alain Fischer. From a business perspective, there was no doubt that the creation of a dedicated start-up to fully develop the potential of the patented technology was the best option” says Dr. Amaury MARTIN, Director of the TTO at Institut Curie and Director the Institut Carnot Curie-Cancer. “It also perfectly fits with the new strategy of the TTO that we want to promote and illustrate the potential of the Institut Curie Cancer Immunotherapy Center to be opened in 2017.”.
The license agreement comes together with an R&D Agreement between Stimunity and Nicolas Manel’s laboratory. It will allow the company to finalize the validation of the mechanism of action of the drug, necessary to convince private investors to lead a first seed round of 2 to 5M€. This money will cover the manufacture of the drug at GMP standards and the efficacy package on pre-clinical models, two elements needed before we can enter into clinical trials by the beginning of 2019.
 Gentili M, et al. Transmission of innate immune signaling by packaging of cGAMP in viral particles. Science. 2015. Bridgeman A, et al. Viruses transfer the antiviral second messenger cGAMP between cells. Science. 2015.
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