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Nov 25, 2013
 |  BioCentury  |  Emerging Company Profile

Armo: Reviving IL-10

Armo using pegylated IL-10 to elicit T cell response against tumors

Armo Biosciences Inc. is set to emerge from stealth mode this week with a $20 million series A round and a license to a pegylated IL-10 program that was tested by Schering-Plough Corp. for autoimmune conditions. Armo is repurposing the program for cancer based on new evidence that it can stimulate a T cell response against tumor cells.

IL-10 was identified in the late 1980s and initially studied as an immunosuppressive due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

Schering-Plough Corp., which was bought by Merck & Co. Inc. in 2009, moved into human studies with a recombinant version of the cytokine for indications including Crohn's disease and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Clinical studies in a total of several thousand patients "showed IL-10 was having a biological effect but statistical significance was never reached," so the product was deprioritized, President and CEO Peter Van Vlasselaer said.

Nonetheless, several researchers from Schering-Plough continued their work and found that IL-10 does more than contribute to immunosuppression by...

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