Our scientific founder, Dr. John Herr, Professor of Cell Biology and Urology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, discovered oocyte specific cancer proteins such as SAS1B in his research to identify egg specific protein targets for a female contraceptive drug. Dr. Herr’s research team has described how the SAS1B protein is normally expressed at significant levels only in mature oocyte (egg) cells. It was subsequently discovered that SAS1B is also expressed on the surface of a wide range of human cancers. Neoantigenics has shown that human tumor cells expressing SAS1B can be killed using an antibody-directed immunotoxin (like the uterine cancer cells reacting with SAS1B antibody and stained brown, at right).
Neoantigenics is now testing numerous antibody-drug conjugates both in vitro and in animal models of human cancers to measure the therapeutic effect of these SAS1B targeted antibody-drug conjugates. If these studies demonstrate strong efficacy with little to no appreciable off-target cellular toxicity issues, we will aggressively advance our antibody-drug conjugate program into preclinical development to support an Investigational New Drug (IND) application to the FDA.