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ImaginAb, Parthenon Ink Licensing Deal to Use PET Imaging in Immunotherapy Trial

NEW YORK – Parthenon Therapeutics and ImaginAb said on Thursday that they have entered a multiyear license agreement for ImaginAb's CD8 ImmunoPET (89Zr crefmirlimab berdoxam) imaging technology.

Under the terms of the agreement, Parthenon will use ImaginAb's technology in a Phase I trial slated to begin in 2023, in which Parthenon will evaluate PRTH-101 as a monotherapy and combined with anti-PD-1/PD-L1 immunotherapy. ImaginAb will supply clinical doses of the imaging agent at clinical sites across the US. In exchange, ImaginAb will receive undisclosed payments from Parthenon.

In using ImaginAb's PET imaging agent, CD8 ImmunoPET, Parthenon is aiming to employ a less invasive method of assessing CD8 T-cell infiltration in patients' tumor microenvironments and generate a dataset of biomarker endpoints for the PRTH-101 clinical trial. PRTH-101 is designed to target DDR1, which makes tumors more vulnerable to immune cells. The firm plans to use the ImmunoPET imaging data to measure the degree to which immune cells infiltrate tumors before and after treatment with PRTH-101.

The imaging agent will help investigators visualize tumors with CD8-positive T-cell infiltration that are considered hot, cold tumors that have few or no CD9-positive T cells, or immune-excluded tumors with CD8-positive T cells in the tumor bed but not in the actual tumor cells. This last subset of tumors is what Parthenon is most interested in identifying, since PRTH-101 is supposed to target the collagen barrier of immune-excluded tumors, allowing CD8-positive T cells to kill the tumor cells.

"Parthenon is developing an entirely new class of anti-cancer therapies that can modulate the TME in immune-excluded tumors through our proprietary approach that utilizes biomarkers to match our therapeutic approaches to individual patients based on the specific characteristics of their cancer," Parthenon CEO and Cofounder Laurent Audoly said in a statement. "This [PET imaging] approach is less invasive compared to the current biopsy-based standard of care and is consistent with the objective of generating a rich dataset of biomarker endpoints leveraging orthogonal approaches in the earliest phases of our clinical trial."