Novartis accelerates cancer immunotherapy efforts with Aduro Biotech alliance

Posted: 31 March 2015 | Victoria White

Norvatis and Aduro have entered an alliance that is focused on the discovery of cancer immunotherapies and launched a new immuno-oncology research group…


Novartis has announced that it is stepping up its efforts to harness the body’s immune system to combat cancer.

The company has entered into a major multiyear alliance with Aduro Biotech that is focused on the discovery and development of next generation cancer immunotherapies targeting the STING (Stimulator of Interferon Genes) pathway and launched a new immuno-oncology research group led by renowned cancer vaccine expert Glenn Dranoff, MD.

The addition of STING agonists adds to Novartis’ diverse portfolio of immunotherapies that includes chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CART) technology and novel checkpoint inhibitors. Currently the CART program, CTL019, is in phase 2 clinical trials and checkpoint inhibitors targeting PD1, LAG3, and TIM3 are expected to enter the clinic in mid-2015.

Aduro’s novel small molecule CDNs have proven to generate an immune response in preclinical models

STING is a signalling pathway that when activated is known to initiate broad innate and adaptive immune responses in tumours. Aduro’s novel small molecule cyclic dinucleotides (CDN’s) have proven to generate an immune response in preclinical models that specifically attacks tumour cells.

“Immunotherapy is one of the exciting frontiers in oncology today. Current approaches with checkpoint inhibitors and T-cell modulation are potent but only in select tumor types. STING agonists have the potential to fully activate the immune system to attack a broader range of tumours,” said Mark Fishman, President of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research. “Under Glenn Dranoff’s leadership our new immuno-oncology research group will aggressively drive our current programs to the clinic and explore new directions for both mono and combination therapies.”

For more information about Novartis, please visit

For more information about Aduro Biotech, please visit

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