– Multicenter Phase 1 study to evaluate IO-202 as monotherapy and in combination with an anti-PD-1

PALO ALTO, CA, USAI January 31, 2022 I Immune-Onc Therapeutics, Inc. (“Immune-Onc”), a clinical-stage cancer immunotherapy company developing novel biotherapeutics targeting immunosuppressive myeloid checkpoints, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared the company’s Investigational New Drug (IND) application for IO-202, a first-in-class antibody targeting leukocyte immunoglobulin-like receptor B4 (LILRB4, also known as ILT3), for the treatment of solid tumors.

Myeloid cells are abundant and often immune suppressive in the solid tumor microenvironment. The LILRB4 receptor is expressed on monocytic myeloid cells, including dendritic cells, and contributes to a tolerogenic myeloid cell phenotype, resulting in decreased tumor immune surveillance. In preclinical data presented at the 2021 American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting, IO-202 was found to enhance dendritic cell function and T cell activation in vitro and promote anti-tumor immunity in a solid tumor model in vivo. These data provided a strong rationale to evaluate the therapeutic potential of IO-202 as a myeloid checkpoint inhibitor in solid tumors.

“The FDA clearance to begin our Phase 1 study for IO-202 in solid tumors is a major milestone for Immune-Onc, which represents the third IND for our pipeline and the second for IO-202,” said Charlene Liao, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Immune-Onc. “We know that high LILRB4 expression on myeloid cells infiltrating solid tumors contributes to tumor immune evasion. IO-202 is a first-in-class myeloid checkpoint inhibitor targeting LILRB4, which may provide therapeutic benefit to multiple solid tumor types where evasion of the immune system allows disease to progress and create resistance to therapy, including to T cell checkpoint inhibitors. We look forward to advancing IO-202 into the clinic to evaluate its potential as a monotherapy and in combination with an anti-PD-1 in patients with solid tumors.”

The Phase 1, multicenter, dose-escalation and dose expansion study will consist of a monotherapy cohort and a combination therapy cohort to evaluate the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics of IO-202 alone and in combination with pembrolizumab, an anti-PD-1 antibody, followed by indication-specific expansion cohorts to be treated with IO-202 in combination with pembrolizumab at the recommended Phase 2 dose. Various biomarkers will be assessed to enable a mechanistic understanding of clinical data and inform future trials. This study may also provide an opportunity to identify preliminary efficacy signals.

ABOUT LILRB4 (also known as ILT3)

LILRB4, also known as ILT3, is an immune inhibitory transmembrane protein found on monocytic myeloid cells, including dendritic cells. LILRB4 inhibits antigen-presenting cell activation, resulting in immune tolerance. LILRB4 is also expressed on certain hematologic cancer cells and monocytic myeloid cells in the solid tumor microenvironment. Immune-Onc and The University of Texas published pioneering research in Nature illuminating the role of LILRB4 in immune suppression and tumor infiltration in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and presented the rationale for targeting LILRB4 in solid tumors at the AACR Annual Meeting 2021.


IO-202 is a first-in-class LILRB4 antagonist antibody with broad potential as an immunotherapy in both blood cancers and solid tumors. In hematologic malignancies, preclinical studies showed that IO-202 converts a “don’t kill me” to a “kill me” signal by activating T cell killing and converts a “don’t find me” to a “find me” signal by inhibiting infiltration of blood cancer cells. In solid tumors, preclinical data showed that IO-202 enhances dendritic cell function and T cell activation in vitro and inhibits tumor growth in a solid tumor model in vivo.

IO-202 is currently in Phase 1 clinical development for the treatment of AML and chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML). The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted IO-202 Orphan Drug Designations for treatment of AML in 2020. The company has received IND clearance to evaluate IO-202 in solid tumors in January 2022.


Immune-Onc Therapeutics, Inc. (“Immune-Onc”) is a clinical-stage cancer immunotherapy company dedicated to the discovery and development of novel myeloid checkpoint inhibitors for cancer patients. The company aims to translate unique scientific insights in myeloid cell biology and immune inhibitory receptors to discover and develop first-in-class biotherapeutics that disarm immune suppression in the tumor microenvironment.

Immune-Onc has a differentiated pipeline with a current focus on targeting the Leukocyte Immunoglobulin-Like Receptor subfamily B (LILRB) of myeloid checkpoints. Immune-Onc’s focused platform approach has led to the development of several promising therapeutics across various stages of development. In addition to advancing IO-202, a first-in-class antibody targeting LILRB4 (ILT3), into the clinic in 2020, Immune-Onc has advanced IO-108, an antagonist antibody targeting LILRB2 (ILT4), into the clinic for solid tumors in 2021. Additional assets in Immune-Onc’s pipeline include IO-106, a first-in-class anti-LAIR1 antibody, and multiple undisclosed programs for solid tumors and hematologic malignancies.

The company has strategic research collaborations with The University of Texas, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and has invested in proprietary models, assays, and tools to interrogate the biology and translate this cutting-edge research into the development of novel therapies. Immune-Onc has received research grants from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) and a strategic investment from The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Therapy Acceleration Program® (LLS TAP®). Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, Immune-Onc has assembled a diverse team with deep expertise in drug development and proven track records of success at leading biotechnology companies. For more information, please visit www.immune-onc.com and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

SOURCE: Immune-Onc Therapeutics