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NextPoint Therapeutics Begins Immunotherapy Trial in Tumors Known to Express HHLA2

NEW YORK – NextPoint Therapeutics on Thursday said the first patient with metastatic cancer received its investigational monoclonal antibody NPX267 in a Phase I trial.

The first-in-human trial will include patients with solid tumors known to express HHLA2 including non-small cell lung, renal cell, colorectal, bile duct, pancreatic, urothelial, gastric, triple-negative breast, endometrial, cervical, osteosarcoma, and prostate cancer. Researchers will measure the proportion of responders whose tumors express HHLA2 and perform exploratory biomarker analysis on patients' tumor and blood samples.

HHLA2 is often upregulated in tumors independently of PD-L1 expression. NPX267 targets KIR3DL3, a receptor expressed on effector T cells and natural killer cells in the tumor microenvironment and the inhibitory receptor for the HHLA2 pathway. The drug is designed to prevent immune escape in solid tumors.

"Many cancers hijack the HHLA2 pathway to evade the immune system," NextPoint CEO Detlev Biniszkiewicz said in a statement. "Because HHLA2 is expressed independently of PD-L1 and is often highly expressed in PD-L1-negative cancers, targeting the HHLA2-KIR3DL3 interaction is a promising new approach for patients with cancer."

NextPoint, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, raised $80 million in a Series B funding round in January to support development of NPX267.