GE Healthcare, and theranostics company Indi Molecular have entered a collaboration to develop non-invasive positron emission tomography (PET) tracers that target the CD8 protein. PD-1-expressing CD8+ T lymphocytes are thought to play a significant role in response to immune checkpoint inhibitor therapies and are a key predictor of immunotherapy response.
The collaboration will leverage Indi’s proprietary Protein Catalyzed Capture (PCC) technology. According to the company, PCC agents have potential both as a small synthetic molecule replacement for antibody-based therapeutics, as well as the application under the GE collaboration, as a precision in vivo PET diagnostic.
“This collaboration is a credit to the strength of both our respective research and development teams,” Albert A. Luderer, Ph.D., Indi Molecular CEO and co-founder said in a press release announcing the deal. “We believe that our protein catalyzed capture technology platform is ideally suited to deliver predictable, small molecule-like biological behavior that possesses unique, ultra-high target affinity and specificity required for targets such as immune cells.”
According to GE Healthcare, the company already has a small portfolio of PET tracers that it is selling to biotechs and pharmaceutical companies for use in targeting biomarkers for immunotherapies in clinical trials.
“With Indi Molecular as one of our collaborators we can now begin to develop novel PET tracers for a variety of biomarkers of interest in the immuno-oncology space,” said Julia Casey, GM of molecular imaging at GE Healthcare .”These tracers could potentially play a critical role in supporting the development of immunotherapies, treatments that have shown great promise in how we manage oncology patients today.”
Indi Molecular, launched in 2013, is looking to carve a niche as a theranostics company leveraging its core technology, a synthetic class of agents with antibody-like properties it calls protein-catalyzed capture (PCC) agents. Smaller than 4 kD, PCCs are a synthetic equivalent of a monoclonal antibody and also possess the biophysical properties of a small-molecule drug. Indi hopes to leverage the lower cost, stability and faster creation of PCCs, compared to monoclonal antibodies across a range of therapeutic and imaging applications.