AvidBiotics Corp., a developer of novel non-antibody proteins targeting bacteria, cancer, and virus-infected cells, this week announced that it has received an issued patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office covering the targetable immunotherapeutic platform being developed by the company.
The patent is entitled “Non-Natural MIC Proteins,” and claims bi-specific, engineered human MIC proteins, termed Micacide™ proteins by the company, that simultaneously bind to selected cell surface targets and to the NKG2D activating receptor expressed on natural killer (NK) cells and certain T cells.
Micacide proteins act as adapters between the targeted cells (e.g., cancer or virus-infected cells) and cells of the innate immunity system to direct killing of the targeted cells. AvidBiotics is leveraging this platform technology to develop first-in-class immunotherapeutics capable of directing an immune response through the NKG2D receptor pathway toward a number of specific cancers and viral targets.
The innate immunity system plays an important role in fighting cancer and viral infection by maintaining constant surveillance against cells that express surface MIC proteins, the presence of which indicates that the cells are a threat. Once NK cells, for example, detect a cell decorated with MIC protein, they attack and destroy the cell. However, many cancerous or infected cells do not express a level of MIC protein sufficient to recruit the cells of the innate immunity system, or the harmful cells evade detection by shedding their MIC surface markers.
“The Micacide proteins encompassed by this patent are designed to overcome the escape of these malignant or infected cells from NK and T cell surveillance,” said David W. Martin, M.D., AvidBiotics Chief Executive Officer. “These proteins therefore provide a potentially powerful mechanism for harnessing our own innate immunity systems to fight cancer and viral infections.”