ALX Oncology Holdings Inc. (ALXO)
First Day Turnover18.76%
We are a clinical stage immuno-oncology company focused on helping patients fight cancer by developing therapies that block the CD47 checkpoint pathway and bridge the innate and adaptive immune system. Cancer cells leverage CD47, a cell surface protein, as a “don’t eat me” signal, to evade detection by the immune system. Our company is developing a next-generation checkpoint inhibitor designed to have a high affinity for CD47 and to avoid the limitations caused by hematologic toxicities inherent in other CD47 blocking approaches. We believe our lead product candidate, ALX148, will have a wide therapeutic window to block the “don’t eat me” signal on cancer cells, and to leverage the immune activation of broadly used anti-cancer agents through combination strategies. We have dosed over 150 subjects with ALX148 across a range of hematologic and solid malignancies in combination with a number of leading anti-cancer agents. We intend to advance ALX148 into clinical development for the treatment of myelodysplastic syndromes, or MDS, acute myeloid leukemia, or AML, and to continue clinical development for the treatment of a range of solid tumor indications. Based on our clinical results to date in multiple oncology indications showing encouraging anti-tumor activity and tolerability and our clinical development plans, our strategy is to pursue ALX148 as a potentially critical component for future combination treatments in oncology.
Anti-cancer agents, including many chemotherapies, other small molecules and anti-cancer antibodies, can stimulate immune cells such as macrophages to engulf and kill cancer cells, a process known as phagocytosis, by providing so-called “eat me” signals on cancer cells. In response, cancer cells frequently overexpress CD47 to counteract these “eat me” signals. As a result, high expression of CD47 on cancer cells has been associated with reduced patient survival in multiple cancers. The therapeutic blockade of CD47 in combination with an “eat me” signal enables the immune system to detect and phagocytose cancer cells. However, healthy blood cells and nearly all other cells in the body also express CD47 as a way to protect against pathologic phagocytosis by immune cells.
There have been a number of approaches to blocking CD47, including monoclonal antibodies and fusion proteins that include an active Fc region. These approaches have encountered limitations, including limited dosing and therapeutic window, limited ability to combine with other anti-cancer agents, limited efficacy in solid tumors and limited indications due to patient selection, that have challenged their ability to maximize the full potential of CD47 blockade. In addition, most of these therapeutic approaches to CD47 blockade have resulted in the destruction of patients’ healthy blood cells, causing cytopenias that limit the dosing and therapeutic potential of those molecules.
ALX Oncology was founded by Corey Goodman, Ph.D., K. Christopher Garcia, Ph.D., and Jaume Pons, Ph.D. to address fundamental challenges in blocking CD47 and to realize the full potential of this therapeutic target. We have developed a new approach to CD47 blockade that is designed to maximize clinical activity and minimize toxicities.
All competing clinical data to date have come from product candidates that incorporate an active antibody Fc region in addition to a CD47 blocking region. The Fc region provides a positive, pro-phagocytic “eat me” signal to macrophages and other cells of the immune system. Since healthy blood cells also express CD47, these competing therapeutic approaches can cause a reduction in the number of blood cells in the body, resulting in anemia, thrombocytopenia and neutropenia, which can be dangerous to patients and may limit the ability to combine these agents with other anti-cancer medicines.
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