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Press News

2014.06.16 Patent for Next-generation Cancer Antigens MAGE-A4 Peptides Approved in Japan

tella, Inc. (Head office: Minato-ku, Tokyo; President & Representative Director: Yuichiro Yazaki) signed a contract in March 2009 with National University Corporation Hokkaido University for exclusive worldwide licensing rights concerning MAGE-A4 peptides, which are new cancer antigens. The patent concerning MAGE-A4 peptides submitted by Hokkaido University has now been approved in Japan and the exclusive licensing rights have been established. A patent for MAGE-A4 peptides has already been granted in the United States.

MAGE-A4 peptides, which are patented in Japan and the United States, are a newly developed peptide (MHC class II restricted peptide) with a site that can activate cancer antigen-specific helper T-cells.
Previous cancer antigen peptides (MHC class I restricted peptides) activated only killer T-cells (Cytotoxic T-cells). But MAGE-A4 peptides can also increase the number of cancer antigen-specific killer T-cells by efficiently activating helper T-cells. In addition, this patent covers a hybrid long peptide that combines MHC class I and class II restricted peptides and is now under development. There are hopes that this will be a next-generation cancer antigen peptide that can stimulate an even more powerful immunological response to cancer. This peptide may be suitable for clinical use with the DC (dendritic cell) vaccine Vaccell® for the treatment of cancer of the esophagus, head and neck, and other parts of the body.
For a research project outsourced by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), the first phase of exploratory voluntary clinical research was performed at Hokkaido University and other locations concerning this hybrid long peptide. This research was adopted by the NEDO’s Translational Research Promotion Project in 2008 for the purpose of developing technologies that promote to bridge the basic research and clinical research.

Hokkaido University has submitted patent applications concerning these MAGE-A4 peptides in Japan and the United States as well as other countries. In accordance with its contract with Hokkaido University, tella can exercise its exclusive licensing rights worldwide. tella will conduct a clinical research going forward with the aim of early practical applications of MAGE-A4 peptides.

tella will continue to perform R&D activities involving new cancer antigens and acquire associated intellectual property. The goal is to give the large number of cancer patients more treatment options.

This matter will have only a negligible effect on results of operations in fiscal 2014.