a bio company specializing in development of anti-cancer immunotherapies, on
the 12th that research findings regarding its proprietary immune-checkpoint
inhibitor STM418, which is being developed as a candidate for novel
immunotherapy for cancer, were published in Cancer Research, a highly-regarded cancer
STM418, the subject of this publication, is
a PD-1 antibody that was developed based on the novel finding that glycosylation
on immune-checkpoint protein PD-1 is critical for its functions. STCube has
conducted a research project on STM418 in cooperation with U.S. based MD
Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) and Taiwan-based China Medical University. The publication
is drawing a keen attention in medical circles.
Having recognized that the glycosylation on
PD-1 is critical to the protein’s functions, STCube analyzed each of the glycosylation
sites on PD-1. As a result, it was discovered that glycosylated PD-1 remain on
the surface of cells for a long period of time with enhanced stability, and
that among the glycosylation sites on PD-1, N58 significantly contributes to
PD-1’s binding to PD-L1.
STM418, which selectively recognizes
glycosylated PD-1, exhibited a higher binding affinity to PD-1 than other PD-1
antibodies approved by the U.S. FDA, a likely reason for STM418’s showing of better
anticancer efficacies. The results from animal testing are in accord, showing
that STM418 prevented the tumor growth better than other PD-1 antibodies, and
that the cancerous animals treated with STM418 survived longer than the animals
treated with other PD-1 antibodies.
Among immune-checkpoint inhibitors, PD-1 antibodies
are generally regarded as a backbone therapy for cancer patients, and Keytruda,
one of the most successful PD-1 antibodies, single-handedly achieved annual sales
amounting to about 13.15
trillion Korean won
last year. As STM418 shows better anticancer efficacies than existing PD-1
antibodies, the expectation is that once it is commercialized, its impact on
the market would be significant.
One official of the company stated: “We
are pleased that the paper on STM418 for which STCube researchers are named as
co-authors has been published in Cancer Research. Now that the excellent
anticancer efficacies of STM418 have been recognized in academic circles, we plan
to move forward with development of this antibody in clinical settings,
ultimately to introduce an innovative anticancer immunotherapy to the market."
He also added: “In addition to the STT-003
antibody, which was introduced R&D IR event in the U.S. last month, we also
plan to seek FDA approval for clinical trials (IND) and conduct Phase 1
clinical trials on STM418. We will do our utmost to move forward as quickly as