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Jan 24, 2024

Onward Therapeutics Announces Enrollment of Phase 1 Clinical Trial of a Novel Bispecific Antibody (OT-A201) Targeting Two Immune Checkpoints

Onward Therapeutics SA (Onward Therapeutics), a global biotechnology company focused on developing innovative immunotherapies for cancer treatment, today announced that the phase 1 clinical trial of OT-A201 (Study No. A20101), a first-in-class bispecific antibody targeting two immune checkpoints is in progress.

The study aims to evaluate the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, immunogenicity, and preliminary anti-tumoral activity of OT-A201. The study is a European multicenter and open-label study that will be conducted in two parts. The first part is a dose escalation stage of OT-A201 as single agent in patients with selected relapsed/refractory hematological malignancies or advanced/metastatic solid tumors. The second part is an expansion stage that will further evaluate the safety and preliminary anti-tumoral activity of OT-A201 as monotherapy or in combination in defined hematological malignancies and solid tumors at the dose(s) selected from the first part.

Onward Therapeutics licensed the exclusive worldwide rights of development, manufacture, and commercialization of OT-A201 from Biomunex Pharmaceuticals (Biomunex), a biopharmaceutical company discovering and developing bi- and multi-specific antibodies, in February 2021. Onward Therapeutics and Biomunex will co-develop this bispecific antibody until the completion of the phase 1 study in one of the indications. Dosing of the first patient has triggered an undisclosed amount of milestone payment to Biomunex. 

“With the drug development expertise and successful track records of the Onward Therapeutics team, we have moved forward from the cell line development, scale up, 1,000-liter manufacture, preclinical pharmacology and toxicology studies, as well as clinical development and regulatory application of OT-A201 rapidly and efficiently. We are enthusiastic to test OT-A201 for the first time in patients. The study marks an important milestone of Onward Therapeutics in transitioning into a clinical stage company. It also represents a step forward in advancing innovative projects based on our ‘buy-to-build’ business model”, said Dr. C. Grace Yeh, Chairman and CEO.

“Despite the recent advances in cancer immunotherapy, there is still a significant unmet need for new treatment options to improve clinical outcome. OT-A201 offers an effective strategy to overcome tumor resistance and to provide better anti-tumor effects. This bispecific antibody has shown excellent in vitro and in vivo activity and safety, opening up the possibility of a favorable therapeutic window. We are looking forward to providing clinically meaningful information from this study to bring a differentiated approach in difficult-to-treat cancer patients", said Dr. Alain Herrera, Chief Medical Officer.

About OT-A201

OT-A201 is a first-in-class humanized bispecific antibody targeting two immune checkpoints.  With the potential synergistic anti-cancer effects, it is being evaluated as a new treatment for advanced hematological malignancies and solid tumors. In preclinical studies, OT-A201 has demonstrated excellent specificity, safety and displayed significant anti-tumoral activities at different doses with the potential for a wider therapeutic window as compared to its parental antibodies. Based on the proprietary structure generated from the BiXAb technology of Biomunex, OT-A201 possesses a functional Fc domain in contributing to ADCC activity against tumor cells. It has demonstrated good pairing, low aggregation, high stability, and good manufacturability.

About Onward Therapeutics

Onward Therapeutics SA is a clinical stage company focusing on the identification and development of innovative therapies for the treatment of cancer. The company, led by an experienced team in translational science and drug development, adopts a “ buy-to-build” business model. The company has licensed a bispecific antibody (OT-A201) from Biomunex ( and also made equity investment in the company. It is also pursuing the development of an allogeneic, off-the-shelf natural killer cell therapy (NK-001 / OT-C001) with its majority owned company, Emercell SAS, as well as sponsoring an onco-metabolism program from Institut du Cancer de Montpellier. The company is headquartered at Biopôle (a life sciences campus in Epalinges), near Lausanne, Switzerland, has an affiliate in Paris, France, and an office in Taipei, Taiwan. For more details,

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