June 27, 2024

Oncopeptides selects first candidate drug from its SPiKE platform

Oncopeptides recently announced that the first candidate drug based on the company´s unique platform for Small Polypeptide based innate Killer Engagers (SPiKE) has been selected.

The SPiKE platform uses multi-specific constructs, able to bind to multiple targets simultaneously. The first drug candidate, OPSP1, is a bi-specific construct designed to both engage natural killer cells, a type of immune cell, and target cancer cells. The goal of OPSP1 is to prove the ability of the SPiKE platform to activate these natural killer cells. To do this, OPSP1 targets a specific protein called BCMA that is expressed in some cancers including multiple myeloma. By targeting this protein, Oncopeptides will be able to assess how well the SPiKE platform can activate natural killer cells to fight cancer, a crucial step before continued clinical development of the SPiKE platform.

“There is significant potential in NK cell-mediated therapy for difficult-to-treat cancers,” says Dr. Karl-Johan Malmberg, professor at Oslo University and Karolinska Institutet. ”Despite the substantial advancements in current treatments, the reality is that resistance to these therapies often develops. This underscores the urgent need for new and innovative treatment options to address this unmet medical need.”

NK cell-mediated therapy represents a promising avenue in cancer immunotherapy, with ongoing research aimed at overcoming existing challenges and enhancing its therapeutic potential. As a next step for Oncopeptides, a first-in-human clinical trial will be designed to evaluate the safety, efficacy, and overall therapeutic potential of OPSP1.

“The ability to show a promising product pipeline behind its flagship product is important for a growing biotech company. Following the accomplishments we have seen with our first technology platform PDC, where we have an approved product, we are excited to also announce progress with SPiKE, our second technology platform,” says Sofia Heigis, CEO of Oncopeptides. “This milestone is a major step forward in our ambition to ensure that Oncopeptides can continue to provide hope for patients suffering from difficult-to-treat cancers, and value to shareholders investing in our science.”

A pre-clinical project for the SPiKE platform has received a financial grant from the Eurostars 3-program, co-financed by the European Union research and innovation program “Horizon Europe” and is driven by an international research consortium that includes world-leading expertise from the department of Cancer Immunology at Oslo University Hospital, Pharmatest Services Ltd in Turku, Finland and the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (KTH), from where the technology originally stems. With this grant, Sweden’s Innovation Agency, Vinnova, has provided Oncopeptides resources to develop pre-clinical proof of concept for a novel synthetic small polypeptide for the treatment of multiple myeloma.

For additional details on the SPiKE platform, please click here.

Questions and answers for investors

What is this?

Oncopeptides has announced the selection of OPSP1 as the first candidate drug from its SPiKE platform, designed to engage natural killer cells and target cancer cells by binding to the BCMA protein. This milestone signifies a major potential advancement in the development of new treatments for difficult-to-treat cancers, with plans to begin a first-in-human clinical trial to evaluate OPSP1’s safety and efficacy.

What does the CD selection milestone mean concretely for the drug and Oncopeptides?

CD (Candidate Drug) selection for OPSP1 from the SPiKE platform signifies a major milestone in Oncopeptides’ development pipeline. For the drug, this means it has shown enough preclinical promise to advance into clinical trials, where its safety and efficacy will be further evaluated. Broadly speaking, for the company, this selection highlights the company’s innovative approach and capability in developing new therapies, potentially enhancing its market position, confidence among stakeholders, and long-term growth prospects. It also demonstrates progress in diversifying the company’s portfolio beyond their initial PDC platform.

What are the next steps in the development of OPSP1?

The next step is to design and conduct a first-in-human clinical trial to evaluate the safety, efficacy, and overall therapeutic potential of OPSP1.

How is the SPiKE project funded, do you see additional costs not included in your current budget down the line?

To progress our pipeline assets was part of the communicated ambition with the recent rights issue that Oncopeptides carried out during the spring of 2024. The immediate next steps in the development of OPSP1 and other pipeline assets are financed. To get a drug fully developed and approved is however extremely costly and we would be looking at different options further down the line.

How does the SPiKE platform relate to your other innovation platform, PDC? What are some differences and similarities?

The PDC (Peptide Drug Conjugate) platform delivers a cytotoxic payload directly into cancer cells using a peptide carrier, exploiting the altered metabolism of cancer cells to target them specifically and reduce side effects. The platform is clinically proven through Oncopeptides flagship product Pepaxti. In contrast, the SPiKE (Small Polypeptide based Innate Killer Engagers) is a potentially groundbreaking platform that uses the immune system, particularly NK cells, to target and destroy cancer cells, aiming to maintain efficacy while reducing side effects like cytokine release syndrome.

Both platforms focus on treating difficult-to-treat cancers with innovative approaches that maximize effectiveness and minimize adverse effects.

For more details, visit the Oncopeptides pipeline page.