Immuneed shows unique immunomodulating drug-safety evaluation assay and new strategy for therapeutic cancer vaccination

Immuneed, a Swedish life science biotech company, today announced the publication of two key scientific publications, supporting both its immuno-service and its immuno-oncology offerings. The articles demonstrate Immuneed’s unique whole blood loop assay, a tool to predict first-infusion reactions of immunotherapeutics[1], and a novel targeting and adjuvant strategy to improve T cell responses that can be used for cancer vaccines[2].

Biological drugs are attracting ever-increasing interest from drug developers, but must be handled with care, since severe and life-threatening reactions may develop following their administration. Such reactions have historically been predicted using animal studies or blood cell cultures, but these assays may fail to predict some reactions, as shown in the TGN1412 clinical trial some 10 years ago, where six healthy volunteers were infused with an anti CD28 antibody, which led to anaphylactic responses and multi-organ failure. Immuneed’s groundbreaking whole blood loop assay, described by Fletcher and co-workers1, is the first to include all components of human blood, including intact cascade systems that may be essential for certain types of acute responses to occur, and is therefore ideal for comprehensive investigation of drug/blood interactions during preclinical development, or for safety screening prior to first-in-man clinical trials.

“When performing preclinical safety evaluation, it is extremely important to use an assay that will give you clinically relevant data from the relevant drug/organ location, and our blood loop system will provide information on the reactions occurring when blood meets drug,” said Justyna Leja Jarblad, co-author of the study and Service Manager at Immuneed. “Another advantage of our assay is that it gives greater sensitivity in comparison to alternative cytokine release assays and therefore higher confidence in the result. The loop system allows us also to dissect mode-of-action of various biotherapeutics.”

“The validation of this method, starting off as a project at Uppsala University, is now available for companies to use in their pre-clinical development of biological drugs. This is a big milestone also for Uppsala University”, said Sara Mangsbo, CSO at Immuneed and Associate Senior Lecturer at Uppsala University.

Specific immunotherapies have emerged as potential treatments for different types of cancer. Therapeutic vaccination relies on the induction of tumor-specific T cells, which can be achieved by delivering tumor-derived antigens to dendritic cells that in turn activate the right T cells. An efficient way to deliver antigens is to use immune complexes (the antigen in complex with antibody), since they are potent mediators of cellular immunity and have been extensively studied. However, an approach to use immune complexes as vehicle for specific immunotherapy has not yet reached clinical use. In the paper by Mangsbo and colleagues2 (collaborators at Uppsala University and Leiden University Medical Centre, LUMC), a targeting strategy is described that generates defined immune complexes that can improve dendritic cell activation and T cell responses.

“We have established a strategy enabling both targeting of the antigen to dendritic cells as well as inducing dendritic cell activation, using a small part of the potent immunogenic protein tetanus toxin, a protein to which nearly all humans have antibodies due to the general vaccination program,” said Sara Mangsbo, first author of the study and CSO of Immuneed. “We show that our immune complex strategy is clinically relevant, and we will continue to develop the technique to be used in Immuneed’s pipeline for therapeutic cancer vaccination.”

For more information on Immuneed’s therapeutic vaccine platform, or immuno-services using the whole-blood loop assay, please contact Justyna Leja Jarblad at

1. Extracorporeal human whole blood in motion, as a tool to predict first-infusion reactions and mechanism-of-action of immunotherapeutics.
Fletcher EAK, Eltahir M, Lindqvist F, Rieth J, Törnqvist G, Leja-Jarblad J, Mangsbo SM.
Int Immunopharmacol. 2017 Oct 27;54:1-11

2. Linking T cell epitopes to a common linear B cell epitope: A targeting and adjuvant strategy to improve T cell responses.
Mangsbo SM, Fletcher EAK, van Maren WWC, Redeker A, Cordfunke RA, Dillmann I, Dinkelaar J, Ouchaou K, Codee JDC, van der Marel GA, Hoogerhout P, Melief CJM, Ossendorp F, Drijfhout JW.
Mol Immunol. 2017 Nov 22;93:115-124

About Immuneed
Immuneed, founded in 2014, is a life science biotech company developing a novel tetanus toxin- derived therapeutic vaccine for cancer treatment. Immuneed also offers a first-in-class, lab-based human whole-blood assay as a specialized service, for detection of immune-related side effects of biopharmaceuticals. The assay can minimize risks related to drug infusion reactions as well as decrease cost for pre-clinical drug development; linking preclinical data to clinical reality.

Immuneed contact
Gunilla Ekström
+46-(0)73-354 20 58

Notch Communications contact
Kate Whelan Ph.D.
Scientific copywriter
Phone: +46 (0) 70-238 11 49  / +44 (0)161 457 7230

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