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Protagen, Gustave Roussy Collaborating on Markers for Immunotherapy Side Effects

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Protagen said today it has entered a collaboration with the Gustave Roussy Institute of Oncology to identify biomarkers for immune system-related side effects in cancer patients treated with checkpoint inhibitors.

Under the collaboration, the parties will use Protagen's SeroTag platform, which simultaneously measures autoantibody levels for thousands of antigens, to test cancer immunotherapy patients for markers linked to immune-related adverse events (irAEs) and, ultimately, develop a risk-profiling test for patients undergoing immunotherapy.

Financial and other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

"Our efforts to improve therapeutic outcomes via the implementation of combination therapies can increase the risk of the patient developing debilitating and sometimes fatal irAEs," Aurelien Marabelle, clinical director of the Gustave Roussy Immunotherapy Program, said in a statement. "It is therefore vital that we try to understand more about the immunological responses patients are exhibiting to cancer, both before and during therapy."

Protagen's SeroTag platform "has already demonstrated its ability to stratify patients into homogenous disease subgroups for a number of autoimmune indications, thereby supporting the development of novel therapies," Petre Schulz-Knappe, the company's chief scientific officer, said in a statement. "Due to the strong link between immuno-oncology and autoimmune disease, we believe that applying our technology and approach to the immuno-oncology field will result in improved patient selection for novel immuno-therapies and support the risk profiling of patients for the development of irAEs."

The deal follows several other biomarker-discovery collaborations for Protagen in cancer immunotherapy including one with the German National Center for Tumor Diseases Heidelberg and another with the National Cancer Institute.