The next check­points? Im­muno-on­col­o­gy up­start looks to find new ways to un­leash T cells

With much of the re­search com­mu­ni­ty in on­col­o­gy fo­cused on T cell reg­u­la­tors like LAG-3 to fol­low up on CT­LA4 and PD-L1 in the hunt for new tar­gets to quell can­cer, a pair of in­ves­ti­ga­tors in Ger­many asked them­selves a sim­ple ques­tion.

If tu­mor cells ex­press PD-L1 to in­hib­it T cells, what else can be found on the sur­face of these cells that block T cells?

The ques­tion spurred them to be­gin an am­bi­tious tu­mor screen­ing pro­gram for new tar­gets. And their work has now in­spired a start­up, iOmx Ther­a­peu­tics, which has put to­geth­er a $44 mil­lion A round to back the first few years of pre­clin­i­cal work and at least one proof-of-con­cept study for a lead pro­gram.

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