Io Therapeutics, Inc., Announces Publication of Data on a Novel Compound Promoting Anti-Cancer Immune Responses

SPRING, Texas, Sept. 12, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Io Therapeutics, Inc., announced today the publication in Scientific Reports – Nature Publishing Group, of results from studies done with the company’s novel anti-cancer compound IRX4647, an agonist of the retinoic acid nuclear receptor gamma, discovered in the company’s oncology drug program. The paper, titled “A novel retinoic acid receptor-gamma agonist antagonizes immune checkpoint resistance in lung cancers by altering the tumor immune microenvironment,” authored by Cheng-Hsin Wei, Ph.D., et al., reports studies done in the laboratory of the Molecular Pharmacology Program at the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research (FNLCR), supervised by Xi Liu, Ph.D., Senior Principal Scientist; and Ethan Dmitrovsky, M.D., president of Leidos Biomedical Research and Director of the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research.

The studies showed that oral treatment with IRX4647 in combination with an immune checkpoint inhibitor (anti-PD-L1) resulted in suppression of a typically checkpoint inhibitor treatment-resistant syngeneic lung cancer in mice. IRX4647 did not appreciably impact growth of the lung tumor cells in cultures, indicating that the compound alone is not directly toxic to lung cancer cells. Studies in other syngeneic mouse cancer models implicated the tumor microenvironment in these anti-cancer effects since T cell depletion antagonized those effects. Notably, treatment of mice with IRX4647 in combination with the checkpoint inhibitor increased the presence of CD-4 T-lymphocytes in the tumors, indicating that the compound’s anti-cancer effects were mediated through promotion of anti-cancer immune responses in combination with the checkpoint inhibitor.

Dr. Dmitrovsky stated, “These results reveal an approach to potentially improve treatment of cancers in humans using combinations of retinoic acid nuclear receptor gamma agonists with checkpoint inhibitors. Future clinical trials could address this possibility.”

Martin Sanders, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of Io Therapeutics noted that “Scientific Reports – Nature Publishing Group” is the fifth most highly cited scientific journal in the world. “That these results were published so prominently in the literature indicates their importance to the future of cancer therapeutics.” Sagar Vuligonda, Ph.D, Chief Scientific Officer of Io Therapeutics stated “The company has designed, synthesized, and patented multiple structural families of compounds which bind selectively to the retinoic acid nuclear receptor gamma, and to various other retinoic acid nuclear receptor targets, which we are pursuing as potential treatments for diverse cancers, and also for treatment of neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and psoriasis.”

About Io Therapeutics:   Io Therapeutics, Inc. is a privately held company headquartered in Spring, Texas, focused on the development of novel retinoic acid-based compounds for treatment of cancers, neurodegenerative diseases, and autoimmune diseases. More information on Io Therapeutics is available on the company’s web site:

Forward Looking Statements: This new release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.


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