Sonnet BioTherapeutics, 100 Overlook Drive, Second Floor, Princeton 08540. 609-375-2227. Panjak Mohan, founder and executive chairman.

Sonnet BioTherapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company focused on enhanced cancer immunotherapies, says it has finished the “discovery phase” of its immunotherapy platform. The company also announced that it has commenced development for up to four immuno-oncology assets with a New Jersey-based contract manufacturing partner.

Sonnet’s technology makes certain immune system proteins last longer. IL-12, a commonly used protein in immunotherapy for cancer, is often given at high doses due to its short lifespan, and Sonnet says its platform greatly extends its half-life and has the added positive effect of making it accumulate more in tumor tissue.

“Globally, cancer is responsible for about one in six deaths, and current immunotherapies are effective for only 20 percent of patients,” said Sonnet founder and executive chairman Pankaj Mohan. “The National Cancer Institute and other bodies believe interleukins are important tools in cancer immunotherapy. We believe the Sonnet platform de-risks the use of interleukins by greatly extending their half-life within the body, while also improving their specificity to tumor tissue. Having concluded our discovery program with a multi-asset pipeline, we are excited to advance up to four lead therapeutic candidates (three of which have double targets) into [chemistry, manufacturing, and control] development and plan for primate data and IND.”

John Cini, co-founder and chief scientific officer, said Sonnet’s platform uses a fully formed human “albumin binding domain.” to create these effects. He said the technique enhances the effectiveness of “checkpoint inhibitor” immunotherapy drugs, which help the body’s own immune system fight cancer.

“By addressing past challenges with interleukins, Sonnet promises to unleash the true potential of checkpoint inhibition treatments and other current cancer therapies,” he said.

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