Compugen Ltd. (NASDAQ: CGEN) announced today the extension of its predictive discovery capability to identify immunomodulatory proteins in addition to the B7/CD28-like proteins that have been the focus of the Company’s Pipeline Program to date. The initial utilization of this extended capability resulted in the discovery of four novel immunomodulatory proteins predicted to act as immune checkpoints. The newly discovered proteins have been added to the Company’s Pipeline Program as potential targets for cancer immunotherapy.
The new discovery capability incorporates the previously announced predictive modeling of two distinct biological phenomena related to the role of the immune system that are conceptually different from those employed in the discovery of Compugen’s B7/CD28-like candidates. The first biological phenomenon that was modeled exploits the interplay between the immune system and intruding pathogens. As a result of such interplay, some immune proteins tend to evolve differently. Compugen’s scientists devised an evolutionary model to detect such immune proteins, and the predictive algorithm was incorporated into Compugen’s discovery infrastructure and integrated with its existing tools for the discovery of target candidates for cancer immunotherapy.
The modeling of the second biological phenomenon relies heavily on the Company’s MED Platform, which was employed to predict proteins that play a role in the biology of tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs). TAMs are an important component of the tumor microenvironment and play a major role in creating the immunosuppressive environment that enables tumor development. Proteins having the potential to modulate the tumor microenvironment may serve as potential targets for cancer immunotherapy.
Dr. Anat Cohen-Dayag, President and CEO of Compugen, stated, “In late 2010, we selected the family of B7/CD28 immune checkpoint proteins as the first market focused program for our predictive discovery infrastructure, resulting from more than a decade of innovative multidisciplinary research. During the past few years, our ability to systematically identify novel B7/CD28-like protein candidates has been demonstrated, despite prior and ongoing long-term discovery efforts by others in this very important field.”