ImmuNext Inc. has developed an antagonist of VISTA, a ligand that negatively regulates T cells similar to better known members of the B7 family of proteins. But targeting VISTA could be safer than targeting other B7 proteins because it may not lead to the severe immune responses seen with more widely expressed members of the family.

Last month, ImmuNext granted Johnson & Johnson exclusive, worldwide rights to develop and commercialize products that antagonize VISTA - V-region immunoglobulin-containing suppressor of T cell activation - a newly identified negative checkpoint regulator that is a part of the B7 family. J&J plans to develop immunotherapies targeting VISTA to treat cancer.