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Protagen, NCT Heidelberg Partner to Predict Immunotherapy Response in Urothelial Cancer

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Protagen announced today a collaboration with the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) Heidelberg to identify biomarkers for predicting therapeutic response and immune-related adverse events (irAEs) in urothelial carcinoma patients receiving checkpoint-inhibitor immunotherapy.

The collaboration will use Protagen's Cancer Immunotherapy Array, which is based on its SeroTag biomarker discovery platform that analyzes autoantibody expression patterns linked to different disease states.

Financial and other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

"Checkpoint inhibitors offer the chance to significantly improve overall survival for cancer patients, and can potentially even cure cancer in some cases," Carsten Grüllich, professor at NCT Heidelberg said in a statement. "In urothelial carcinoma especially, they can be very successful in a subset of patients, however certain subsets suffer from drug-related toxicities. This makes it vital that we understand better which patients are likely to respond and/or suffer from irAEs."

“Our unique Cancer Immunotherapy Array has already demonstrated its potential in malignant melanoma and prostate cancer patients. The extension into urothelial carcinoma is our next step into an indication where cancer immunotherapies have been successful, but also face significant response and toxicity challenges, said Peter Schulz-Knappe, Protagen's chief scientific officer.

The collaboration is the latest of several between Protagen and NCT. Last month the parties announced work on predicting response of patients with malignant melanoma to immunotherapy, which followed another agreement focused on melanoma announced the year before.