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Juno Therapeutics Adds Adenosine Receptor Antagonist Through Acquisition of RedoxTherapies

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Juno Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: JUNO), a biopharmaceutical company focused on re-engaging the body's immune system to revolutionize the treatment of cancer, announced today that it has acquired RedoxTherapies, Inc., a privately held company based in Boston, Massachusetts. The acquisition provides Juno with an exclusive license to vipadenant, a small molecule adenosine A2a (A2a) receptor antagonist that has the potential to disrupt important immunosuppressive pathways in the tumor microenvironment in certain cancers. Juno intends to explore this molecule in combination with its engineered T cell platform and may over time explore it in other areas as well.

“We look forward to integrating this asset into our ongoing research and clinical efforts and exploring it in combination with product candidates from our portfolio.”

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The adenosine pathway is increasingly recognized as one of the most important drivers in decreasing the immune response in cancer through upregulation of checkpoints, metabolic downregulation of T cells, and overall immune suppression. Inhibiting this pathway, particularly through the blockade of A2a receptor signaling, has been shown in pre-clinical models to enhance the efficacy of adoptive T cell therapy, checkpoint inhibitors, and vaccines across a number of blood and solid organ cancers.

Vipadenant, an orally bioavailable synthetic small molecule, potently and selectively blocks adenosine receptor mediated immunosuppression. In Phase I and II clinical trials in approximately 250 Parkinson's disease patients and healthy volunteers, vipadenant was found to reach serum levels that predict saturation of the A2a receptor and blockade of signaling through this pathway and to be well tolerated in these subjects. In addition to vipadenant, with the transaction Juno has acquired proprietary know-how and intellectual property pertaining to the development of A2aR antagonists in combination with immuno-modulatory agents, such as the company’s engineered T cells. RedoxTherapies founder and adenosine biology pioneer Michail Sitkovsky, Ph.D. will become a scientific consultant to Juno.

“Multiple approaches to overcoming the tumor microenvironment will be key in optimizing the clinical benefit of engineered T cells, and T cells more broadly, in the treatment of cancer. Inhibiting the adenosine pathway is one of the most intriguing pathways in this important area of science, and we look forward to testing the...