8/12/2022 — Laevoroc Oncology Announces Publication Identifying Purine Nucleoside Phosphorylase (PNP) as a Novel Metabolic Immune Checkpoint

December 8, 2022

UCLA data in the Journal of Clinical Investigation supports LR09 drug development as a metabolic immune checkpoint inhibitor for the treatment of leukemia

Zug, Switzerland, 8 December 2022: Laevoroc Oncology (‘Laevoroc’ or ‘the company’), a privately-owned, Swiss oncology development company, announced today the publication of key preclinical data carried out at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) which provides mechanistic insights into the immunoregulatory functions of purine nucleoside phosphorylase (PNP) with Laevoroc’s PNP inhibitor, LR 09. (1). 

The research shows that PNP is a novel metabolic immune checkpoint and LR 09 (Ulodesine), originally developed, and approved, for the treatment of gout, is a metabolic immune checkpoint inhibitor that activates the immune system through release of cytokines, expansion of germinal center B-cells and follicular helper T-cells.  

Relapse post-transplantation is the most frequent cause of treatment failure, in children and adults with leukemia. LR 09 has demonstrated an excellent safety profile in the clinic and is formulated as an oral once-a-day treatment. Relapsed leukemia places a heavy economic burden on health systems. In the US healthcare setting, the mean total episode cost (from relapse date to death or end of study period), in a sample of around 700 patients, has been estimated, in 2019, at around $439,000 per patient (2).

Laevoroc’s co-founder and CEO, Thomas Mehrling, MD, PhD, said, “We are delighted to have achieved this discovery with UCLA, which supports our vision for LR 09 to enable the treatment of relapsed leukemia — a devastating diagnosis for the patient and their families and an important cost burden for healthcare systems. Using our approach, we can help the grafted immune system recognize and combat the host leukemia, resulting in long-term response or cure.”

Laevoroc Immunology’s CSO, Shanta Bantia, PhD, said, “We believe our innovation is a game-changing new therapy with the potential to become standard of care. Our vision with LR 09 is to enable the cure of relapsed leukemia.”

Laevoroc Immunology continues to focus on fundraising to bring LR 09 to the clinic, and to patients, as swiftly as possible. Laevoroc acquired the commercial rights to LR 09 for new indications in 2021.


(1) https://www.jci.org/articles/view/160852

(2) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31222713/

About Laevoroc Immunology

Laevoroc Immunology is a Swiss immuno-oncology development company based in Zug and founded in 2021, by Thomas Mehrling MD PhD, and Davide Guggi PhD, who have over 40 years’ combined experience in oncology and the pharmaceutical industry. The company is focused on developing immuno-oncology compounds with the potential to transform the treatment outcomes of medically underserved haematological malignancies and become game-changers in a wider range of applications.       

The company has raised over USD 1.1M in seed finance and is actively raising Series A financing for its subsidiaries.


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