• Arovella enters into a licensing deal with UNC Lineberger
  • The deal will see IL-12-TM used in Arovella’s CAR-iNKT cell platform
  • Invion jumps 25pc after quarterly update


Arovella signs licence deal in US

Arovella Therapeutics (ASX:ALA) has entered into a global, exclusive licence with University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center to incorporate the novel armouring cytokine technology (IL-12-TM) for its CAR-iNKT cell platform.

IL-12-TM is a modified version of the human cytokine, interleukin 12 (IL-12), which is considered the ideal candidate for human tumour immunotherapy.

However, side effects associated with IL-12  have limited its use as a standalone therapeutic.

The UNC Lineberger has worked on modifying IL-12-TM to include a ‘membrane anchor’, which keeps the IL-12 attached to the CARiNKT cell, and prevents it from circulating freely in the patient’s bloodstream.

This enables the IL-12-TM to have the desired effect on the CAR-iNKT cell, and reduces the risk of off-target effects and toxicity.

The technology was developed by Professor Gianpietro Dotti, a pioneer of CARiNKT cells, and was recently published in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal Nature Communications.

When the IL-12-TM technology was tested on mice with neuroblastoma, and the mice were assessed four weeks after dosing, investigators found that CAR-iNKT cells containing IL-12-TM were at much higher numbers in the bloodstream (>10 times) than CAR-iNKT cells that did not contain IL-12.

Investigators also found that approximately 75% of the mice were still alive 60 days after treatment for the IL-12-TM group, while all mice in the group treated with CAR-iNKT cells lacking IL-12 had died.

Arovella says the licence agreement announced today has no immediate material financial impact on the company.

In addition to this study, Arovella continues to work with Imugene (ASX:IMU), combing its oncolytic virus platform, CF33, with Arovella’s ALA101 drug.

The company believes incorporating IL-12-TM may provide improved activity against a range of solid tumours for this collaboration.


Invion awaits HREC approval for Phase 1/2 trial

Invion (ASX:IVX) meanwhile jumped 25% this morning reporting its quarterly activities.

During the quarter, Invion said that it completed lodgement of the Phase I/II nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) trial application with the Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC).

First patient recruitment is expected in the coming months (subject to HREC approval).

In the trial, Invion said it will be using an adaptive trial design for greater flexibility to incorporate dose optimisation and efficacy signal endpoints, on top of the usual safety data.

Separately, in the oral antimicrobial space, Invion is focusing on periodontal diseases, which it says represents a significant unmet need.