Publication in ImmunoHorizons Highlights the Role of IL-27 in Upregulation of Multiple Checkpoint Proteins

- Expression of IL-27 shown to contribute to upregulation of PD-L1, LAG-3, CTLA-4, and TIGIT

- Surface Oncology will submit an IND for SRF388, a first-in-class IL-27 antibody, in Q4 2019

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Jan. 16, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Surface Oncology (Nasdaq:SURF), a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company developing next-generation immunotherapies that target the tumor microenvironment, today highlights the publication of a paper describing the biological activity of IL-27, an immunosuppressive cytokine. Previously, IL-27 has been referred to as a key regulator for the expression of checkpoint proteins.1

The paper, “IL-27 and TCR Stimulation Promote T Cell Expression of Multiple Inhibitory Receptors,” was published in ImmunoHorizons, a peer-reviewed, open access, online-only journal committed to advancing the knowledge of immunology. Among the findings in the paper, results indicate that the local production of IL-27 at sites of ongoing toxoplasmosis-induced inflammation contributes to expression of PD-L1, LAG-3, CTLA-4, and TIGIT, all key checkpoint proteins in the downregulation of immune responses.

IL-27 is understood to play an important role in turning off an immune response following viral and parasitic infections. Beyond the role of IL-27 in restoring immunostasis, Surface Oncology believes it has identified several cancers where IL-27 may prevent the immune system from recognizing and killing cancer cells.

“This paper is yet another validation of the role of IL-27 as a regulatory cytokine for the upregulation of checkpoint proteins. We are rapidly working toward filing an IND for our IL-27 antibody, SRF388, which we believe will be the first IL-27 antibody for the treatment of cancer. We applaud this additional work in the field and are privileged to work alongside thought leaders such as Dr. Chris Hunter, one of our SAB members and senior author of this paper,” said Jeff Goater, chief executive officer of Surface Oncology.

“We have now known for more than 15 years that IL-27 can have remarkable suppressive activities,” said Christopher Hunter, B.Sc., Ph.D., chairman, Department of Pathobiology, University of Pennsylvania, and member of Surface Oncology’s Scientific Advisory Board. “However, the ability of IL-27 to promote inhibitory receptor expression in the context of infection, autoimmune inflammation, and cancer may help to explain how it tempers T cell responses.”

Surface Oncology is currently conducting IND-enabling studies for its IL-27 antibody, SRF388. IND submission for SRF388 is projected for Q4 2019. SRF388 is believed to be the only IL-27 antibody in late-preclinical development.

1 Kuchroo, Et al. Nature 558, pages 454–459 (2018)

SRF388 is a fully human anti-IL-27 antibody. In preclinical studies, treatment with SRF388 was observed to block IL-27 signaling and its downstream immunosuppressive signaling effects. Preclinical combination with a PD-1 inhibitor increased the production of key inflammatory cytokines. SRF388 also demonstrates preclinical anti-metastatic tumor activity.

Under Surface’s collaboration agreement with Novartis, Novartis has the right to purchase an option to the SRF388 program.

Surface Oncology is an immuno-oncology company developing next-generation antibody therapies focused on the tumor microenvironment with lead programs targeting CD73, CD39, IL-27 and CD47. Surface’s novel cancer immunotherapies are designed to achieve a clinically meaningful and sustained anti-tumor response and may be used alone or in combination with other therapies. The company has a pipeline of seven novel immunotherapies and a strategic collaboration with Novartis focused on up to three next-generation cancer immunotherapies.

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Seth Lewis

Ten Bridge Communications
Krystle Gibbs