Immunomodulatory proteins are proteins capable of modifying or regulating one or more immune functions. Immune checkpoints, including inhibitory receptors and ligands, are one type of immunomodulators.

Compugen has extended its predictive discovery capabilities for cancer immunotherapy beyond the successful initial focus on immune checkpoints, and through the application of two predictive platforms has discovered four novel immunomodulatory protein candidates.

Enhanced Evolution Proteins

Proteins evolve to maintain their function in an ever-changing environment. Different proteins might have a different evolutionary rate and pattern depending on their environment.

Proteins that participate in immune responses to intruding pathogens are subject to an evolutionary pressure that is different from non-immune related proteins. We have devised a model to detect immune proteins based on their enhanced evolutionary rates. The predictive algorithm was incorporated into Compugen’s discovery infrastructure and integrated with existing tools to discover novel immune target candidates for cancer immunotherapy.

Targeting Tumor Associated Macrophages

Macrophages are immune cells that engulf and digest dying or dead cells, cellular debris and pathogens. As such, they have a critical role in initiating and regulating immune defense mechanisms.

In cancer, tumor associated macrophages (TAMs) are found within the tumor microenvironment and have an important role in promoting progression and invasion of tumor cells, and in suppression of anti-cancer immunity. Therefore, the neutralization of TAMs has become an attractive approach for cancer immunotherapy. Various pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies have begun to develop therapies targeting TAMs, and clinical trials are at early stages.

Our prediction of novel TAM targets relies on a specialized algorithm that employs the Company’s MED Platform. Several potential TAM targets were predicted, and initial positive validation results have been disclosed for one target protein.