JTX-1811 is a monoclonal antibody, designed to selectively target immunosuppressive tumor-infiltrating T regulatory (TITR) cells


Gilead to licence Jounce Therapeutics’ cancer drug. (Credit: Adam Radosavljevic from Pixabay.)

US-based biopharmaceutical firm Gilead Sciences has agreed with Jounce Therapeutics, a clinical-stage immunotherapy company, for an exclusive license to its immunotherapy drug JTX-1811.

Under the terms of the agreement, Gilead is expected to pay $85m upfront, and a $35m in equity investment to Jounce, at a premium upon closing.

Also, Jounce is entitled to receive an additional payment of up to $685m in future clinical, regulatory and commercial milestone payments, in addition to royalties between high single-digit and mid-teens, based on international sales of the product.

Gilead Sciences research executive vice president William Lee said: “We are very pleased to add, upon closing of the transaction, JTX-1811 to our pipeline of investigational immuno-oncology therapies that have the potential to transform care for patients with cancer.

“JTX-1811 is complementary to our other oncology candidates and has the potential to be first in a new class of therapies as a treatment for people with both solid tumours and haematological malignancies.”

Jounce develops immunotherapies and biomarkers for cancer treatment

Jounce Therapeutics is engaged in the discovery and development of immunotherapies and predictive biomarkers, for the treatment of cancer. It develops therapies that enable the immune system to attack tumours and provide long-lasting benefits to patients through a biomarker-driven approach.

The company has four development programmes, including Vopratelimab, JTX-4014, JTX-8064, and currently licenced monoclonal antibody JTX-1811.

JTX-1811 is designed to selectively target immunosuppressive tumour-infiltrating T regulatory (TITR) cells. The drug works by targeting CCR8, a chemokine receptor on TITR cells, by deploying elevated antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity mechanism.

The drug is said to be on track for regulatory filing for an Investigational New Drug (IND) application in the first half of 2021.

Jounce Therapeutics chief executive officer and president Richard Murray said: “Gilead’s investment in Jounce and, specifically, JTX-1811 reinforces the value of our Translational Science Platform and differentiated and sustainable approach to novel immuno-oncology programs, focused on patients with cancer who have yet to benefit from immunotherapy.

“We look forward to seeing JTX-1811 progress to the clinic. Our mission to deliver the right immunotherapy to the right patient population for meaningful and long-lasting benefit remains at the core of our discovery and clinical development work. Our JTX-1811 program is a prime example of these efforts.”