Research

Pionyr Immunotherapeutics discovers and develops first-in-class biologic drugs that fine-tune natural immune responses to increase immune defenses for diseases such as cancer, or to dampen immune responses in autoimmune diseases. The company draws upon deep expertise in immune systems biology and utilizes proprietary technologies that generate antibodies that tune those systems. Our collective expertise allows us to isolate new drugs that are highly context-sensitive, recognizing therapeutic targets only within specific microenvironments such as the tumor microenvironment. Our technologies allow for the selection of antibodies that target subpopulations of immune-suppressive or immune-enhancing cells in tumors with the aim of eliciting effective therapeutic immunity with minimal side effects.

Pionyr's Myeloid Tuning technology is based on the discovery that altering the tumor microenvironment to favor immune-activating cells over immune-suppressing cells enhances the body’s ability to combat cancer, particularly in combination with checkpoint inhibitors.

Pionyr has recruited an exceptional team with extensive experience in immunology, immuno-oncology, target discovery, and immunotherapy development. Currently Pionyr is focused on immuno-oncology antibody therapeutics that address unmet clinical needs, with a priority on developing agents that significantly increase the durability and depth of responses. Additionally, Pionyr is building a pipeline of transmembrane and intracellular targets using our cutting-edge technologies and translational assays.

Stimulatory myeloid cells are largely excluded from tumor marginating regions

Shown is a representative still image of a live mouse breast tumor, taken via intravital microscopy. This lesion is from a genetically engineered breast cancer model combined with fluorescent reporters of cells of the myeloid immune system. Red cells represent dendritic cells, cells with known anti-tumor function. Green and yellow cells represent monocytes and Tumor Associated Macrophages (TAMs), cells known to support the growth of the tumor. The distal and marginating regions of the tumor are demarcated by the dashed line. These data highlight the segregation of cells with anti-tumoral function, dendritic cells, away from the core of the tumor, while pro-tumoral populations directly marginate the tumor itself. Adapted from Broz et al. Cancer Cell 26, 638-652.


Pionyr’s PY314 Treatment Alters the Tumor Microenvironment

Pie charts represent the relative frequencies of CD45+ immune cell populations recovered from CT26 tumors. Following two muPY314 combination treatments or two control mAb treatments, the indicated immune cell populations infiltrating mouse CT26 colon carcinoma tumors were identified by multi-color flow cytometry. Dosing was initiated when tumors reached ˜100 mm3. Notable is the decrease in the relative frequency of the immunosuppressive tumor-associated macrophage (TAM) population and the relative increase of anti-tumor T cells in muPY314 combination-treated mice.


Pionyr’s muPY314 in Combination with Anti-PD-1 Treatment Controls Tumor Growth in the Anti-PD-1-Resistant Mouse CT26 Tumor Model

Shown are the average CT26 tumor growth curves for 10 mice treated with muPy314 alone, anti-PD-1 alone, control mAb, or a combination of muPY314 in combination with anti-PD-1. Mouse colon carcinoma CT26 cells were subcutaneously inoculated into the flanks of female mice and dosing (15 mg/kg every 5 days) was initiated when tumors reached ˜100 mm3. Whereas, muPY314 alone or anti-PD-1 alone mAb did not display significant anti-tumor activity, the combination of muPY314 plus anti-PD-1 controlled tumor growth.