Compugen’s lead candidate, COM701, is a potentially first-in-class immunotherapy targeting PVRIG, a novel immune checkpoint that our team computationally discovered and validated in preclinical studies. Clinical data of COM701, as a monotherapy and in combination with PD-1 blockers, have demonstrated initial signs of antitumor activity, with encouraging disease control rate, durability of responses and safety and tolerability in patients that have progressed or failed on many prior lines of therapy. Learn more about the most recent clinical data on COM701 here.
COM701 is currently being studied in a targeted, science-driven clinical development program:
Phase 1 trial evaluating the safety and tolerability of COM701 as monotherapy and in combination with a PD-1 inhibitor in advanced solid tumors. A monotherapy expansion cohort evaluated the safety, tolerability and preliminary antitumor activity of COM701 with a focus on selected tumor types based on biomarker analysis (non-small cell lung, ovarian, breast, endometrial and colorectal cancers).
Phase 1/2 trial evaluating the safety, tolerability and preliminary antitumor activity of COM701 in combination with Opdivo® and also in combination with Opdivo® and with BMS-986207, an investigational anti-TIGIT antibody, in patients with solid tumors is concluding to focus on the triple combination of COM701+COM902+anti-PD-1 in metastatic CRC (MSS) >2L and COM701+COM902 in combination with anti-PD-1 or chemo in anti-PD-1 treated NSCLC.
Through our computational discovery platform, we have identified PVRIG as a new immune checkpoint in the DNAM axis, an important signaling pathway in T and NK cell function.
PVRIG is located on the surface of T and NK cells. Our research exploring the PVRIG pathway show that when bound to its ligand, PVRL2, PVRIG inhibits T and NK cell activity. Working in parallel and in complement with PVRIG in the DNAM axis is TIGIT, which was computationally discovered by the Compugen team in 2009. When TIGIT binds its ligand, PVR, it also leads to inhibition of T and NK cell activity.
While PVRIG and TIGIT are complementary and part of the same biological axis, our research shows that they are in fact distinct. PVRIG and TIGIT bind to different ligands (PVRL2 and PVR, respectively), they are expressed on different immune cell types and their ligands have different expression patterns.
Furthermore, our data show that similar to TIGIT, PVRIG is expressed in stem-like memory T cells (TSCM) and PVRL2 is expressed in both dendritic cells and tertiary lymphoid structures, as well as in PD-L1low less inflamed tumors. TSCM cells, dendritic cells and tertiary lymphoid structures have all been shown to be important in clinical response to checkpoint inhibitors.
Extensive preclinical data as well as initial clinical results suggest that in tumor types where PVRIG is highly expressed, such as in breast, endometrial and ovarian cancers, it could serve as the dominant inhibitory pathway and therefore PVRIG blockade through COM701 has the potential to elicit a meaningful and durable anti-tumor immune response. Additional preclinical data indicate there is a synergistic effect on T cell activation following treatment with both COM701 and Compugen’s TIGIT inhibitor, COM902.
Triple pathway hypothesis: PVRIG, TIGIT, PD-1
In addition to the work that Compugen has done to understand the underlying biology of the DNAM axis, we along with others, have also found that there is an intersection between the two inhibitory pathways on the DNAM axis, PVRIG and TIGIT, and the inhibitory PD-1 pathway.
We hypothesize that the simultaneous blockade of PVRIG, TIGIT and PD-1 has the potential to synergistically enhance anti-tumor immune responses in selected patient populations that are not responsive or refractory to PD-1 blockers alone.
We believe that PVRIG is a critical component in enhancing treatment responses to cancer immunotherapies. We have seen preclinically that tumor response rates can vary depending on the relative dominance of each inhibitory checkpoint, PVRIG, TIGIT or PD-1, so simultaneous blockade of these three inhibitory pathways on T and NK cells may be key to improving anti-tumor immune responses. As the first company with a clinical PVRIG inhibitor, COM701, we aim to study whether PVRIG blockade will support synergistic effects with anti-PD-1 antibodies and/or TIGIT inhibitors.