NeoImmuneTech, Inc., a clinical-stage T cell-focused biopharmaceutical company, today announced that the first patient has been dosed in the company’s Phase 1 study evaluating NT-I7 (efineptakin alfa), a novel long-acting human IL-7, in adult patients with mild COVID-19. The company-sponsored trial is being conducted in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC).
“We’re thrilled to have made this important step in our first clinical trial in COVID-19, at a time when the number of patients impacted by this unprecedented illness is growing at an alarming rate,” said NgocDiep Le, M.D., Ph.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of NeoImmuneTech (NIT). “NT-I7 has been shown to restore lymphocyte counts in cancer patients, which also appears to be essential for patients battling viral illnesses such as COVID-19 where low lymphocyte count is strongly associated with poor clinical outcomes. We believe that NT-I7 has the potential to reinvigorate patients’ immune systems to mount stronger responses to this aggressive infection.”
“NIT is honored and proud to contribute to the worldwide effort to keep this pandemic under control,” added Se Hwan Yang, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of NIT. “There is a strong scientific rationale supporting NT-I7, our unique T cell amplifier, as a potentially important immunotherapeutic for patients battling infectious diseases. We hope that delivering NT-I7 to patients with mild COVID-19 could help to prevent the progression to severe disease, and ultimately improve clinical outcomes. We look forward to demonstrating the potential role of NT-I7 in treating deadly viral illnesses such as COVID-19.”
IL-7 is a fundamental cytokine for naïve and memory lymphocyte development and has been shown to enhance anti-viral T cell responses, promote lymphocyte homing to infection site, limit T cell exhaustion and apoptosis, and ameliorate immunosenescence by expanding the T cell receptor repertoire. NT-I7, the only clinical-stage long-acting IL-7, has demonstrated in clinical trials to have a well-tolerated safety profile and to significantly increase lymphocyte counts in patients.
NT-I7 (efineptakin alpha), a long-acting human IL-7 fusion protein, is the first and only T cell amplifier in clinical development for the treatment of cancer and immunologic diseases. IL-7 promotes proliferation, maintenance, and functionality of both naïve and memory T cells which mediate immune responses. NT-I7 is currently being studied in multiple clinical trials both as a single agent and in combination with other immunotherapeutics, as well as a vaccine adjuvant. NT-I7 has been well-tolerated in clinical trials to date and additional studies are being planned for testing in hematologic malignancies, solid tumors and other immunology-focused indications.
NeoImmuneTech is dedicated to expanding the impact of immuno-oncology and enhancing immunity to infectious diseases by targeting IL-7, a protein which plays a key role in T cell development and survival. With offices in Rockville, Maryland and Pangyo, South Korea and a Research Institute in Pohang, South Korea, NeoImmuneTech is advancing NT-I7 (efineptakin alfa), a T cell amplifier and clinical-stage long-acting human IL-7 drug candidate. NT-I7 is being studied in multiple clinical trials both as a single agent and in combination with other therapeutics in solid tumors and infectious diseases (such as COVID-19), and as a vaccine adjuvant. For more information, please visit NeoImmuneTech.com