About Next-Generation STING Agonists
STimulator of INterferon Genes, or STING, is a protein that has the power to activate the body’s innate immune system. Targeting this protein gives us the potential to stimulate the body’s immune response in the presence of cancer.
We are developing our STING agonist compounds as potential immunotherapeutic agents for the treatment of selected cancers. Immunotherapy has emerged in recent years as a transformative approach for the treatment of cancer. The induction of interferons and interferon-stimulated genes in tumor cells and within the tumor microenvironment has been shown to modulate the host-immune response and induce apoptosis of tumor cells. Activation of the STING pathway can result in the induction of cellular interferons and cytokines while promoting a strong anti-tumor response through the induction of innate and adaptive immune responses. Therapeutically targeting the STING pathway could turn an immunologically “cold” tumor into a “hot” one, making it more likely to respond to other forms of immunotherapy, such as immune checkpoint inhibitors.
All of Spring Bank’s next-generation STING agonists are specifically designed to be conjugated with antibodies as antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs). ADCs represent a novel platform to enable the targeted delivery of payload molecules. Furthermore, conjugation of a payload molecule to an antibody that has its own efficacy profile could allow for a single drug with enhanced potency and safety compared to either mechanism alone. We believe the chemistry used to develop our STING agonists is differentiated from first generation STING agonists because preclinical studies have shown that our molecules allow for site-specific conjugation to other therapeutic modalities, including antibodies, to form ADCs. Our STING agonists, in combination with an antibody to form an ADC, could provide targeted delivery to the tumor site to better achieve anti-tumor efficacy.