Like all illnesses and conditions – there is no one-size-fits-all approach to fighting cancer.
Today, there are two main approaches to immuno-oncology: activating adaptive immune cells, such as T cells, and activating innate immune cells, such as natural killer cells and macrophages, to fight cancer. Many current therapies activate the adaptive immune system and are focused on enhancing T cell responses by targeting inhibitory pathways with immune checkpoint inhibitors, or by targeting activating pathways, as with chimeric antigen receptor T cells or bispecific antibodies. This approach effectively changes the way adaptive cells operate so they can find and destroy tumor cells.
However, immuno-oncology therapies that activate the adaptive immune system do not work for every patient, with some experiencing severe reactions like high fevers and dangerously low blood pressure, or simply not responding to treatments at all. This leaves people who are battling hematologic and solid cancers in need of more options for treatment.
How Affimed’s approach to fighting cancer is unique
For the past two decades, Affimed’s team of dedicated researchers and scientists – with their unparalleled expertise in immuno-oncology – have committed themselves to overcoming the challenges current therapies present. By activating the innate immune system – the body’s first line of defense in fighting illnesses – Affimed is creating a unique approach to fighting cancer. The innate immune system identifies and eliminates pathogens, infected cells and tumor cells through its own activity and by recruiting the adaptive immune system. Innate immune cells present a unique approach to fighting cancer because they are able to ‘talk’ to adaptive immune cells, creating a complete immune response.
Affimed’s various bispecific antibodies – or innate cell engagers (ICE®) – are developed using our fit-for-purpose Redirected Optimized Cell Killing (ROCK®) platform. This is the most clinically-advanced technology platform for designing innate immunity therapies that can be tailored for specific patient populations battling a multitude of blood and solid cancers.
The ROCK® platform is unique in that it takes advantage of the full potential of the innate immune system, generating tetravalent, bispecific ICE® molecules. Like a pocketknife with a variety of tool options, our ROCK® generated ICE® molecules can be customized to target different binding domains on innate immune cells and cancer cells. The molecules bind with unprecedented affinity to CD16A – a protein found on innate immune cells such as natural killer cells or macrophages – as well as targeted antigens on tumor cells. This process activates the innate immune cells, so they can destroy tumors.
What Affimed’s technology means for the future of cancer treatment
Through the activation of CD16A, our approach mimics the natural way the human body employs the innate immune system to safely and effectively fight cancer. Innate immune cells in every human being express CD16A, and molecules created through our ROCK® platform are different from other approaches that engage innate immune cells because they are effective across CD16A allotypes.
Our versatile ROCK® platform is the key differentiator in rapidly and predictably building potent and stable CD16A-targeted ICE® molecules tailored to treat specific indications. The ability of the platform to develop molecules that can be customized to specific tumor targets allows Affimed to build a sustainable pipeline of novel and potentially curative medicines for patients.
Through the advancement of Affimed’s ICE® molecules as monotherapies and combination therapies, and by forming strategic partnerships to further expand and deepen our scientific expertise and accelerate our pipeline, we can leverage this proprietary technology to create transformative treatment approaches for a multitude of cancers.