Pelican Therapeutics, a division of Heat Biologics (HTBX), is an immuno-oncology company developing agonists against TNFRSF25, a differentiated and potentially best-in-class T cell costimulatory receptor. Compared to other costimulators, TNFRSF25 shows preferential specificity in expanding antigen specific "memory" CD8+ T cells, the strongest predictive biomarker of clinical benefit from cancer immunotherapy. TNFRSF25 agonism, when combined with complementary therapies, including with checkpoint inhibitors and Heat’s antigen-driven T cell activation platform, may address the needs of patients refractory to checkpoint blockade. Pelican is the recipient of a $15.2M Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) grant that funds development of PTX-35, its TNFRSF25 agonist monoclonal antibody, through a comprehensive 70-patient Phase 1 trial that includes combination studies. Preclinical and IND-enabling studies with PTX-35 are close to completion, and Phase 1 studies are slated to begin early in 2019.
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