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.”
Dr. Cohen-Dayag continued, “We are of course very proud that in less than four years, we have established a growing position in this field, including a substantial early-stage pipeline of therapeutic product candidates for both oncology and immunology, based largely on our B7/CD28-like protein candidate discoveries. With today’s announcement, we are further broadening our early-stage pipeline with additional immunomodulatory opportunities and again demonstrating the power and flexibility of our predictive discovery capabilities.”About Immunomodulatory Proteins and Immune Checkpoints Immunomodulatory proteins are proteins capable of modifying or regulating one or more immune functions. Immune checkpoints are immunomodulatory proteins, including inhibitory receptors and ligands, which are crucial for the maintenance of self-tolerance (the prevention of autoimmunity) and for the protection of tissues from damage during an immune response. These immune checkpoints are "hijacked" by tumors to block the ability of the immune system to destroy the tumor. Therapeutic blockade of immune checkpoints can boost anti-tumor immunity, enabling the patient’s immune system to recognize and attack the tumor cells, and mount durable anti-tumor responses and tumor destruction. Checkpoint-blocking antibodies have lately demonstrated impressive clinical benefits and long-term survival, even for end-stage patients, raising hopes that this novel approach will lead to effective therapeutic strategies and valuable additions in the fight against cancer. About Compugen Compugen is a leading drug discovery company focused on therapeutic proteins and monoclonal antibodies to address important unmet needs in the fields of oncology and immunology. The Company utilizes a broad and continuously growing integrated infrastructure of proprietary scientific understandings and predictive platforms, algorithms, machine learning systems and other computational biology capabilities for the in silico (by computer) prediction and selection of product candidates, which are then advanced in its Pipeline Program. The Company's business model includes collaborations covering the further development and commercialization of selected product candidates from its Pipeline Program and various forms of research and discovery agreements, in both cases providing Compugen with potential milestone payments and royalties on product sales or other forms of revenue sharing. Compugen’s wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary located in South San Francisco, California, was established for the research and development of monoclonal antibody therapeutic candidates against Compugen’s drug targets. For additional information, please visit Compugen's corporate website at www.cgen.com. This press release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements include words such as “may,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “potential,” “believes,” and “intends,” and describe opinions about future events. Forward-looking statements in this press release include, but are not limited to, statements relating to the potential for Compugen predicted immunomodulatory proteins, both B7/CD28-like and otherwise, to function as checkpoint targets, or to be successfully developed and/or commercialized in the form of therapeutic products or targets for therapeutic products for immunology or for oncology. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Compugen to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These and other risks are discussed in the "Risk Factors" section of Compugen’s most recent Annual Report on Form 20-F as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission as well as other documents that may be subsequently filed by Compugen from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In addition, any forward-looking statements represent Compugen’s views only as of the date of this release and should not be relied upon as representing its views as of any subsequent date. Compugen does not assume any obligation to update any forward-looking statements unless required by law.