We expect to see breakthrough discoveries and treatments being made by Compugen (CGEN) through its far-reaching discovery and validation engines. We discussed many previous discoveries in past Prohost Letters and Tuesday's news enabled us to witness an important revelation. The membrane protein, CGEN-928, which had no recognized function or potential clinical utility, could now serve as a multiple myeloma drug target thanks to Compugen’s discovery engines.
What is the story?
Earlier evaluation by Compugen of the in silico predicted CGEN-928 transcript demonstrated high expression levels in multiple myeloma samples (including drug resistant and aggressive primary tumor cell lines) compared with various normal tissue samples. Following studies performed with two independent experimental systems confirmed the existence of the CGEN-928 protein on the membranes of cells derived from the bone marrow of multiple myeloma patients, as well as on the membranes of primary tumor cell lines both from cell culture grown in mice. The results support the potential therapeutic value of this protein in the treatment of multiple myeloma, including in patients with an aggressive and drug resistant form of the disease.
A monoclonal antibody targeting this protein could be a valuable therapeutic for multiple myeloma and the protein itself would serve as a diagnostic and prognostic marker for this cancer. The findings also indicate that CGEN-928 may offer the diagnostic potential to detect a broader population of multiple myeloma cells, including critical drug resistant tumor cells. Compugen has filed patent applications covering the use of CGEN-928 for its therapeutic and diagnostic purposes.
Dr. James R. Berenson, a leading multiple myeloma specialist and the Medical & Scientific Director of The Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research in California, where most of this research was conducted, stated, “These early results obtained with CGEN-928 are very encouraging, especially given the fact that this protein is showing high levels of expression in many multiple myeloma tumors that are very resistant to current therapy, in addition of being highly aggressive.”
Dr. Anat Cohen-Dayag, Compugen’s president and CEO, expressed her enthusiasm for Compugen’s initial portfolio of novel antibody drug targets, such as CGEN-928, which has the potential to meet critical needs for oncology diagnosis and treatment. Dr Cohen-Dayag said that Compugen’s recent target candidate discoveries are clearly demonstrating to the pharmaceutical industry the power and unique capabilities of its Monoclonal Antibody Targets Discovery Platform, and that the firm is now seeing rapidly growing interest in exploring potential collaborations with it in this field.
The importance of this discovery is that it points to the firm’s technological capability, not just a single event. The firm has taken a long time to build this capability. Now the time has come for it to cash in on the results, which are expected to bring breakthrough diagnostics and therapeutics, which the market is impatient to have. To read the firm’s press release click here.