OSE Immunotherapeutics announced that its interleukin-7 (IL-7) receptor agonist, Effi-7, an immunomodulatory drug being developed for patients with ulcerative colitis, showed positive pre-clinical results. The findings were recently presented at the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies 2016 Annual Meeting, held in Boston, in a poster titled “IL-7 receptor blockade prevents intestinal human T cells infiltration by modulation of alpha4-beta7 integrin expression.“
IL-7 is a potent immunostimulatory molecule that regulates immune cells. A number of studies in recent years have associated IL-7 with several autoimmune diseases, including ulcerative colitis. IL-7 is expressed by inflamed tissues, resulting in the recruitment of IL-7R-positive T-cells. These cells, in turn, activate other immune system cells and aggravate the inflammation, worsening the disease.
OSE’s Effi-7 is a monoclonal antibody directed at the human IL-7 receptor that, by blocking both IL-7 and the IL-7R internalization, induces a strong antagonist effect, resulting in a better control of T-cell recruitment.
This approach is distinct from conventional treatment strategies, or from anti-inflammatory drugs currently in use, and has shown itself to be efficacious in restoring the normal activity of the immune system in autoimmune bowel diseases in several clinical models.
Researchers from OSE demonstrated that Effi-7 therapy is effective in ulcerative colitis animal models by preventing the infiltration of T-cells into the intestine, reducing the inflammation-derived damage to the epithelial cells lining the colon.
Effi-7’s development for ulcerative colitis is part of the consortium EFFIMab project, led by OSE Immunotherapeutics and co-financed by the Public Investment Bank in France (Bpifrance) with €9.1 million.
“We are very proud to have been able to present these promising results of a regulatory immunotherapy of the immune system at a renowned congress of immunology,” said Nicolas Poirier, chief scientific officer for OSE Immunotherapeutics, in a press release. “These new data for Effi-7, in preclinical models of ulcerative colitis, confirm the product’s innovative mechanism of action and efficacy in a T-cell mediated inflammation. This immunologic approach has the potential to offer a new therapeutic option to patients suffering from inflammatory bowel autoimmune diseases, as well as chronic diseases in which the efficacy of widely used therapies is limited due to treatment intolerance or frequent therapeutic escape.”