Repertoire Immune Medicines Pre-publishes New Research Identifying Potential Mechanisms for Immune Escape of SARS-CoV-2 Variants to Support Novel Approaches for T Cell Based Therapeutic Development
- Research demonstrates the ability of DECODE™ platform to identify T cell receptors and their cognate antigens critical for the understanding of long-term immunity against infectious agents such as SARS-CoV-2
- Findings can inform future vaccine designs to enhance cell-mediated immunity and induce long-term protection against emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2
- Development of DECODE continues to more precisely define T cell reactivities and to drive the development of therapies across immune mediated diseases
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – March 3, 2021 – Repertoire Immune Medicines, a clinical-stage biotech company creating a new category of immune therapies for cancer, autoimmunity and infectious disease, today announced pre-published data revealing new insights into T cell recognition of SARS-CoV-2. This research indicates how SARS-CoV-2 variants may avoid immune surveillance and informs the design of new T cell-based vaccines that can provide long term immunity. The results also highlight the ability of Repertoire’s proprietary DECODE™ platform to identify T cells and the disease relevant epitopes that they engage, supporting the development of novel immune medicines. The manuscript summarizing these findings has been made available on the bioRxiv.org pre-print server.
Current vaccines are primarily designed to induce antibody responses to the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2. However, it is unknown whether humoral immunity induced by these vaccines will lead to long-term protection or adequate coverage of emerging viral variants. Using the company’s DECODE platform, Repertoire scientists identified specific viral epitopes from SARS-CoV-2 that were recognized by both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, and described how individuals present these epitopes based on their genetic backgrounds and the expression of their unique human leukocyte antigens (HLA) haplotypes.
“Our research provides insights into how the immune system responds to SARS-CoV-2 infection and suggests mechanisms by which emerging virus variants could escape T cell recognition,” said Jan Kisielow, Ph.D., Vice President of Emerging Technologies, Repertoire Immune Medicines, and lead author of the research. “Understanding T cell engagement at the precise epitope level should guide the development of novel therapeutic approaches beyond applications to SARS-CoV-2.”
“DECODE is a powerful platform that allows a unique and in-depth understanding of cellular immune responses, and that knowledge is critical for developing the next generation of cellular-based vaccines in society’s long-term fight against the global public health threat of SARS-CoV-2,” said Anthony Coyle, Ph.D., President of Research and Development, Repertoire. “While this important research relates to the imminent threat of COVID-19, we are using this technology platform to make discoveries in cancer, autoimmunity and other infectious diseases as well.”
About the DECODE Platform
Repertoire’s research was conducted using MEDi™, a mammalian epitope display technology that allows researchers to determine which peptides within a given protein can be presented on the surface of the antigen presenting cells, and the relative presentation potential across human leukocyte antigens (HLAs). This helps determine the peptides to be included in a therapy to ensure high levels of presentation across patient populations. MEDi is part of Repertoire’s DECODE discovery platform, an integrated suite of technologies that allow the creation of a full picture of the immune synapse to analyze how T cell receptors (TCRs) recognize their respective and unique antigens, learning which T cells see which antigens in an individual’s MHC.
About Repertoire Immune Medicines
Repertoire Immune Medicines is a clinical-stage biotechnology company working to unlock and direct the remarkable power of the human immune system to prevent or treat cancer, as well as autoimmune and infectious disease. The company is founded on the belief that the repertoire of TCR-antigen codes that drive health and disease represents one of the greatest opportunities for innovation in medical science. Repertoire scientists created and developed the DECODE and DEPLOY suite of technologies, which allow in-depth characterization of TCR-antigen pairs, and the ability to rationally design and develop novel targeted immune medicines.
From its sites in Cambridge, Mass., and Zurich, Switzerland, Repertoire’s team of more than 120 is creating a new category of immune medicines enabled from its DECODE discovery platform. The company’s first product in the clinic is a novel multiclonal T cell therapy consisting of naïve, rare T cells derived from the peripheral blood, activated against a curated set of antigens and armed with a proprietary cytokine payload. Repertoire is in clinical-stage immuno-oncology development today, targeting metastatic solid tumors. In the field of autoimmunity, Repertoire is using its proprietary platform to discover novel epitopes and TCRs from patients with type 1 diabetes. The company is also using its DECODE platform to discover infectious disease antigens and responding T cell clones.