Preclinical data demonstrate the activity of novel peptides, empirically designed with no reference to cytokine sequence or receptor structure, that mimic cytokine activity on heterodimeric cytokine receptors

MENLO PARK, CA, USA I November 10, 2020 I Medikine, Inc., a preclinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing innovative peptide-based agonists of cytokine receptors relevant to cancer treatment, today announced that it will deliver three poster presentations at the 35th Annual Meeting of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC 2020), which is being held virtually November 9-14, 2020. The posters highlight preclinical data on three recombinant Fc-fusions incorporating peptides discovered using Medikine’s platform technology, including:

  • A potent and selective agonist of the IL-7 receptor that is composed of the IL-7Ra and gc receptor subunits. A key attribute of this novel fusion protein is the avoidance of cytokine neutralizing antibodies, which has been reported to occur with recombinant forms of IL-7.
  • A potent and selective agonist of a form of the IL-2/15 receptor that is composed of the IL-2/15Rb and gc receptor subunits. Unlike other approaches that attempt to diminish the binding of IL-2 or IL-15 to their respective alpha receptor subunits, the Medikine fusion protein is designed de novo to be devoid of interaction with the alpha subunits, a desired feature for immuno-oncology applications.
  • A bispecific recombinant Fc fusion protein incorporating both IL-7R and IL-2/15Rbgc agonist peptides that demonstrates agonist activity on both receptors. This approach could provide beneficial, non-overlapping immune cell regulation for cancer therapy. The project also demonstrates the potential utility of the peptides in creating bispecific fusions that provide targeting and/or complementary pharmacology.

William J. Dower, Ph.D., a Medikine founder and chief scientific officer, will present the following posters during the virtual poster hall, November 11-14 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST:

  • Poster 566 – MDK-202: An empirically-designed peptidyl agonist of the IL-2/15βγc receptor, devoid of Rα interaction, unrelated to IL-2 or IL-15, and fused to an Fc-domain for PK enhancement.
  • Poster 567 – MDK1319/MDK-701: A potent fully efficacious peptidyl agonist of IL-7Rαγc, designed with no reference to cytokine or receptor structure and unrelated to IL-7, fused to an Fc-domain for PK enhancement.
  • Poster 691 – MDK-271: A dual function molecule consisting of empirically-designed peptidyl agonists of IL-2/15Rβγc and IL-7Rαγc, unrelated to IL-2, IL-15, or IL-7, incorporated into a bispecific Fc fusion protein.         

“Medikine is focused on exploring the unique advantages of empirically designed, peptide-based activators of heterodimeric cytokine receptors over traditional approaches involving modifications of natural cytokines. This work builds on previous discoveries of peptide agonists for the homodimeric receptors for erythropoietin and thrombopoietin by members of the Medikine team,” said Ronald W. Barrett, Ph.D., CEO and chairman of Medikine. “We are pleased to present these innovations at SITC and are now moving the IL-7R and IL-2/15Rbgc agonist programs into development. We believe our product candidates have the potential to offer differentiated and beneficial features over modified/engineered IL-7, IL-2 and IL-15 proteins.”

Posters can be accessed on the SITC website and at

About Medikine
Medikine, Inc. is a privately held, preclinical-stage biopharmaceutical company utilizing a proprietary platform to identify activators of clinically relevant cytokines that interact with the broad class of heterodimeric cytokine receptors. Medikine’s drug candidates can be readily engineered for desired receptor activity, pharmacokinetics and manufacturability. Medikine’s lead program is based on the ground-breaking discovery of a peptide that mimics IL-7 activation of the IL-7 receptor. This target is under active investigation for treatment of lymphopenia and immuno-oncology applications. Medikine also has identified a peptide activator that is selective for the IL-2/15Rbgc  form of the IL-2/15  receptor, which could potentially be used for cancer treatment. For more information, visit

SOURCE: Medikine