Dr. John Herr, Professor of Cell Biology and Urology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine has discovered several proteins that were previously believed to be present only in mature egg (oocyte) cells and nowhere else in the body. Recent discoveries have shown these proteins (neoantigens) are also expressed on the surface of cells of aggressive-stage tumors, including ovarian, uterine, kidney, pancreatic, head-and-neck, and breast cancers.
With support from a leading U.S. pharmaceutical company, Neoantigenics, Inc. is developing high affinity monoclonal antibodies to our lead candidate neoantigen, SAS1B, to be used in an antibody-drug-conjugate therapy. We have established that tumor cell models displaying SAS1B can be killed using an antibody directed immunotoxin (like the uterine cancer tissues reacting with SAS1B antibody and stained brown, at right). Because SAS1B is expressed solely in maturing eggs among normal tissues, therapeutics directed to SAS1B are predicted to avoid undesirable side effects (e.g., hair loss, nausea, neurologic effects) typically occurring with chemotherapeutics and preserve future fertility in pre-menopausal females.
Neoantigenics, Inc. is a Virginia Corporation focused on developing oncology theranostics (therapeutic plus diagnostic) products, founded on the novel science around oocyte (egg)-associated cancer neoantigens discovered at the University of Virginia. These neoantigens are uniquely expressed in a wide range of urogenital tract cancers – ovarian, uterine, bladder and renal cancers – as well as certain other solid cancers such as aggressive stages of pancreatic cancer, many head-and-neck cancers and breast cancer.
Our mission aligns with industry trends to develop molecularly-targeted biotherapeutics, in concert with companion diagnostics and imaging agents, to bring to the market precision, personalized cancer therapy solutions.