Our Science

NEX-I, First-In-Class Cancer Immunotherapy Development Company

Core Technology

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NEX-I aims at developing first-in-class drugs overcoming tumor resistance to the current immunotherapeutics. Over 20 years, the scientists at NEX-I have established a profound immuno-oncology platform to address mechanisms of the resistance against the current anti-cancer therapies with its causing factors. ONCOKINE™, a group of protein derivatives that are secreted in the cancer refractory environment, was first addressed by NEX-I for alternative treatment options. NEX-I has extensively examined tumor tissues and blood samples of cancer patients who were treated with various immunotherapeutics for clinical relevance, and NEX-I developed standardized animal models to validate the targets and confirm the efficacy with tumor growth suppression.

ONCOKINE™

ONCOKINE™ is a group of protein derivatives mostly present in the tumor microenvironment. These factors are main causes of immunotherapy-resistance of cancers. NEX-I herewith ambitiously develops innovative therapeutics targeting ONCOKINE™ to cure the immunotherapy resistance of cancers.

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Tumor-derived factors that mediate the intrinsic and extrinsic resistance against immunotherapy

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  1. When cancers respond to immunotherapies, it is common that the immune system is capable of controlling tumor growth by activating both dendritic cells and cytolytic T cells.
  2. In immunotherapy-resistant cancers, ONCOKINE™ is often present in the microenvironment and may cause immune evasion of the cancer cells.

ONCOKINE™ mediates the intrinsic and extrinsic resistance against immunotherapies. ONCOKINE™ functions not only to promote cancer cell growth but also to recruit immune suppressive cells such as MDSC, and by doing so, it dominates immune system by restraining activities of dendritic cells and infiltration of cytolytic T cells.

Target Discovery

Establishment of immunotherapy-refractory tumor models

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* ICI : Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor / * ACT : Adoptive Cell Transfer

NEX-I has established immunotherapy-refractory cancer models to analyze its characteristics and discover new drug targets for the potential treatment. Through in vivo animal studies applied with various types of immunotherapy such as immune checkpoint inhibitors (anti-PD-1 or anti-PD-L1 antibody)  treatment, antigen-specific Adoptive T cell transfer technique, and cancer vaccine, etc., Successfully attained immunotherapy-refractory cancer cell P3 from the general P0. Confirmed increases of ONCOKINE™ as the cancers progress with immunotherapy-refractory environment. Developed more than 20 immunotherapy-refractory cancer models including non-small cell lung cancer, colorectal cancer, melanoma, liver cancer, and cervical cancer, etc.

Clinical relevance

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In addition to the animal models, NEX-I has robustly analyzed tumor tissues and blood samples of cancer patients for clinical relevance. ONCOKINE™ is highly expressed in tumors and blood of non-responding patients against ICI therapy, and its progressive ability to induce immunotherapy-resistance to the current treatment was also confirmed. Patients with low levels of ONCOKINE™ had significantly longer overall survival than those with the high expression.

Drug Targeting

NEX-I is developing first-in-class cancer immunotherapeutics that target ONCOKINE™.

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