ELSALYS BIOTECH and the prestigious German cancer research institute DKFZ initiate the development of ELB021 in B-Cell leukemia with the support of EU

ELSALYS BIOTECH and the prestigious German cancer research institute DKFZ initiate the development of ELB021 in B-Cell leukemia with the support of EU

  • ELB021 is a proprietary first-in-class monoclonal antibody targeting CD160,
    a multifunctional target expressed on both immune & leukemia cells.
  • With the support of the EU program Eurostar1, ELSALYS BIOTECH & DKFZ initiate the preclinical development of this next-generation immunotherapy which acts both as immune checkpoint inhibitor and cytotoxic antibody.
  • Once validated, ELB021 should enter clinical development in 2020.

Lyon, FRANCE, 18 July 2017, ELSALYS BIOTECH, an emerging player in the field of oncology & ophthalmology, announces today that ELB021, its first-in-class monoclonal antibody targeting the cell-surface receptor CD160, has entered into a preclinical collaboration with DKFZ (the "LeukeMab Project") under a EU-sponsored program Eurostars[1].

In-licensed by ELSALYS BIOTECH from Inserm Transfert in February 2016, ELB021 is a next-generation immunotherapy antibody combining complementary mechanisms of action that could improve the efficacy/toxicity cancer treatment ratio, notably in B-cell leukemias such as Chronic Lymphoid and Hairy-Cell Leukemias (CLL and HCL). Early studies have already shown that ELB021:

  • stimulates innate & adaptive anti-tumor immune response;
  • eliminates selectively cancer cells expressing CD160 (normal B cells doesn't express  CD160 while the receptor is overexpressed in 98 % of CLL and in 100 % of HCL cells).

The overall budget amount for the LeukeMab Project is 1 million euros. Based on the promising preliminary data of ELB021, the objective is to generate the preclinical proof-of-concept and the pharmacological package that open the way to the first-in-human trial. DKFZ will provide its expertise to measure CD160 expression in CLL cells on large patients' cohort and assess the efficacy and safety of the anti-CD160 antibody in relevant mouse models.

"The recognition by the Eurostars program underlies the therapeutic potential of our two-in-one approach in oncology. This new funding accelerates the development of this proprietary first-in-class antibody" said Dr. Christine GUILLEN, CEO and Co-founder of ELSALYS BIOTECH. "We are also very proud to further collaborate with the DKFZ, a european leader in cancer research."



About the anti-CD160 programs

Identified and characterised by Dr Philippe LE BOUTEILLER (Centre de Physiopathologie Toulouse-Purpan, INSERM UMR 1043, CNRS UMR 5282, University of Toulouse III) and Dr Armand BENSUSSAN (Centre de Recherche sur la Peau, UMR 976, University Paris Diderot, St Louis Hospital), the CD160 receptor is involved in the control of the innate and adaptive immune response as well as in neo-angiogenesis regulation. CD160 is also a tumor-antigen known to mediate activation of several cancer cells, notably in B-cell leukemias such as Chronic Lymphoid and Hairy-Cell Leukemias (CLL and HCL).
To take advantage of this unique target, ELSALYS BIOTECH have already generated and characterized a first anti-CD160 antibody and validated its potential, alone and in combination, in different animal models of eye diseases. Thanks to these preliminary efficacy and safety data, the company has initiated 3 development programs based on various antibody formats to:

  • Counteract pathological vascular proliferation (anti-angiogenic) in Age Related Macular Degeneration (ELB011 program),
  • Counteract pathological vascular proliferation and reduce inflammation (bi-specific antibody) in neo-vascular retinopathies (ELB012 program),
  • Stimulate anti-tumor immune response and eliminate cancer cells (two-in-one antibody acting both as immune-modulator and cytotoxic) in CLL (ELB021 program).

Clinical trials initiation with anti-CD160 is expected by 2019 (in ophtalmology) and 2020 (in oncology).




ELSALYS BIOTECH is an emerging player in the field of oncology & ophtalmology that designs and develops next generation therapeutic antibodies that target tumors and their immune and/or vascular microenvironment. By restoring the ability of immune cells to recognize and kill tumors (Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors or ICI) or by blocking the mechanisms that promote their growth (targeted antibodies), ELSALYS BIOTECH widens the range of drugs combinations in novel high potential targets.

To translate these innovative targets into drugs candidates, the company relies on a robust international academic network, an internal R&D platform covering from targets sourcing to clinical development and a team of experts with solid experience in immuno-oncology, antibody technologies and translational medicine. Today ELSALYS BIOTECH is advancing five R&D proprietary development programs combining new biological mechanisms of action and new antibodies formats in severe cancers and eyes diseases.

Founded in 2013, ELSALYS BIOTECH is located at the heart of the top European cluster Lyon Biopole. Its founding shareholders are Transgene and Sofimac Partners, joined by IM Europe and Crédit Agricole Création in 2015.



About DKFZ

The German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ) with its more than 3,000 employees is the largest biomedical research institute in Germany.
At DKFZ, more than 1,000 scientists investigate how cancer develops, identify cancer risk factors and endeavor to find new strategies to prevent people from getting cancer. They develop novel approaches to make tumor diagnosis more precise and treatment of cancer patients more successful. The staff of the Cancer Information Service (KID) offers information about the widespread disease of cancer for patients, their families, and the general public.
Jointly with Heidelberg University Hospital, DKFZ has established the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) Heidelberg, where promising approaches from cancer research are translated into the clinic. In the German Consortium for Translational Cancer Research (DKTK), one of six German Centers for Health Research, DKFZ maintains translational centers at seven university partnering sites.

Combining excellent university hospitals with high-profile research at a Helmholtz Center is an important contribution to improving the chances of cancer patients. DKFZ is a member of the Helmholtz Association of National Research Centers, with ninety percent of its funding coming from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the remaining ten percent from the State of Baden-Württemberg.






Dr. Christine Guillen
CEO and Co-founder
+33(0)6 37 69 75 15



Press Relations: ATCG Partners
Marie Puvieux
+33 (0)6 10 54 36 72
+33 (0)6 62 12 53 39


Dr. Sibylle Kohlstädt
Head of Press and Public Relations
+49 6221 422854

[1]EUROSTARS is a European joint program co-founded from the national budgets of 34 EUREKA countries.