iOnctura presents positive clinical data at ESMO-IO

Published date:
December 9 2021

iOnctura Presents Positive Clinical Data At ESMO-IO Supporting Advancement of IOA-289, a Novel Autotaxin Inhibitor, Into Phase Ib Pancreatic Cancer Studies.

Founded in 2017 as a spin out from Merck, iOnctura and Cancer Research UK have collaborated on a number of drug targets. The autotaxin inhibitor, IOA-289, was originally designed and synthesised in Cancer Research UK’s Therapeutic Discovery Labs (TDL) which was also closely involved in its early development. From 2017 both iOnctura and TDL collaborated closely on this inhibitor, with Cancer Research UK licensing it to iOnctura in 2019.

GENEVA, Switzerland, Dec. 09, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- iOnctura SA, a clinical stage oncology company targeting core resistance and relapse mechanisms at the tumor-stroma-immune interface, is presenting clinical data confirming the mode of action of its autotaxin inhibitor IOA-289 and showing preclinical evidence of the role of autotaxin inhibition in breaking down tumor resistance mechanisms. IOA-289 will be the first autotaxin inhibitor to be clinically investigated in oncology. The data will be presented as a poster at the European Society of Medical Oncology’s Immuno-Oncology Congress (ESMO-IO) taking place on December 8–11, 2021 as a virtual meeting.

The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of single ascending doses of IOA-289 showed that IOA-289 lowered circulating levels of LPA in a dose-dependent manner. LPA is a blood-based biomarker of autotaxin inhibition; importantly, LPA levels have been shown to correlate with circulating CA19-9, a clinical biomarker of pancreatic cancer progression, providing a strong rationale for a biomarker-evaluable-response in this study. A Phase I clinical study of IOA-289 in pancreatic cancer, a malignancy typically characterized by a fibrotic and immune excluded phenotype, is in preparation.

Further compelling preclinical data show IOA-289 reduces tumor burden in mouse pancreatic cancer models. The experimental results support the role of cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) in promoting pancreatic adenocarcinoma cells (PDAC) growth. Additionally in preclinical models iOnctura has demonstrated that blocking autotaxin reduces fibrosis and enhances recruitment of T effector cells, two key mechanisms driving tumor mediated resistance to cancer therapy.

The poster presentation at ESMO-IO is entitled “Translating a novel autotaxin inhibitor from preclinical proof of concept in pancreatic cancer to a biomarker response in human subjects” (P131).

The e-poster presentation is available on the ESMO-IO virtual meeting platform and iOnctura’s website.

Notes to editors


Catherine Pickering
Chief Executive Officer
T : +41 79 952 72 52
E: [email protected]

Press Relations
Jeremy Nieckowski
LifeSci Advisors
T: +41 79 699 97 27
E: [email protected]

iOnctura SA is clinical stage oncology company targeting core resistance and relapse mechanisms at the tumor-stroma-immune interface. iOnctura’s best-in-class drug development programs combine immune-mediated and direct anti-tumor activity to deliver molecules with superior clinical efficacy and safety in oncology. Its lead program, IOA-244 is the only semi-allosteric PI3Kdelta specific, orally dosed, small molecule inhibitor that is being developed in solid and hematological malignancies to address tumor and stroma induced immune suppression. IOA-244 is currently in Part B of a Phase 1 study. iOnctura’s second program, IOA-289, is an oral small molecule that inhibits the cross-talk between the tumor and its stroma and is in a Phase 1 clinical study. iOnctura is backed by blue chip investors including M Ventures, Inkef Capital, VI Partners, Schroders Capital, and 3B Future Health Fund. For more information, please visit iOnctura’s website.

IOA-289, originally licensed from Cancer Research UK, is iOnctura’s second clinical compound, a next generation oral small molecule autotaxin inhibitor that is currently being investigated in the healthy volunteer stage of the AION 01 trial ( Identifier: NCT05027568). A phase 1 clinical study in pancreatic cancer patients is in preparation. iOnctura has undertaken extensive validation of the autotaxin inhibition mechanism in multiple solid tumor preclinical models.

Pancreatic cancer (PDAC): Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the most common form of pancreatic cancer accounting for approximately 90% of cases. PDAC has a poor prognosis, with less than 5% of patients surviving beyond five years after diagnosis. Pancreatic cancer accounts for about 3% of all cancers in the US and about 7% of all cancer deaths, with 60,430 diagnoses each year in the United States and 48,220 deaths.