Tepthera is building up a product pipeline in three different fields.
Cancer immunotherapies are often more potent than current treatments and they usually come with fewer side effects. Inducing a robust and efficient anti-tumor response by therapeutic cancer vaccines depends heavily on the proper identification of tumor specific antigens (TSA). These TSAs can be used as stand-alone therapeutic cancer vaccines or in combination with other treatments. Especially the combination with checkpoint inhibition could have a strong synergistic effect. While the idea of cancer vaccines has been around for a long time, finding tumor specific T-cell antigens in an efficient way, has been the main bottleneck preventing its wide adoption.
To solve this problem, we invented several technology platforms that allow a rapid and unbiased identification of tumor specific T-cell antigens, generating at the same time companion diagnostic cell lines to monitor T- cell reactivity in the blood of patients. Because we take into account the specific nature of both, the tumor and the patient, we will offer highly personalized, effective and safe therapeutic cancer vaccines for each individual patient.
Therapies that specifically target autoreactive T cells without affecting the function of all other T cells would significantly enhance life quality of many patients. Therefore personalized approaches designed to prevent disease by antigen-specific immune suppression are of major medical interest and the focus of many clinical trials. The prerequisite for such therapies is the identification of antigens driving pathogenic T cells. Although there are more than 100 autoimmune diseases, the specificities of auto-aggressive T cells are known only for some.
Using our proprietary MCR platform we aim to identify autoimmune disease relevant antigens, which will provide the basis for the next generation of immune-suppressive drugs.
The induction of effective protection from infectious diseases mainly relies on boosting humoral immunity. However, the pathogens often change their immunogenic determinants so quickly that we need to vaccinate repeatedly to try to keep up with their evolution. The production of new vaccines is cumbersome, expensive and by the time it is finished, the pathogen has often already morphed into a new strain. Cellular immunity has therefore recently received a lot of attention. T cells have been shown to play an important protective role because they often recognize peptides from pathogen-derived proteins that change substantially less frequently. Clearly, incorporating such peptides into vaccines would increase their efficiency. The problem is that T cells recognize peptides in the context of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), and the different alleles found in the human population present only partially overlapping sets of peptides.
Identification of pathogen derived peptides commonly presented to T cells would greatly contribute to the generation of efficient vaccines. Our goal is to define a universal set of peptides that could be incorporated in inexpensive vaccines boosting T cell memory to stable pathogen-derived antigens.