The Wistar Institute and Cormorant Pharmaceuticals Form Partnership

Published: Tuesday, May 03, 2016

PHILADELPHIA—(April 27, 2016)—The Wistar Institute, an international research leader in cancer, immunology and infectious diseases, and Cormorant Pharmaceuticals AB, a Swedish biopharmaceutical company specializing in cancer drug development, are pleased to announce a dynamic partnership that incorporates Wistar’s cutting-edge methods to analyze tumor biopsies with Cormorant’s novel drug HuMax-IL8, which is undergoing a phase I trial at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The lab of Dmitry Gabrilovich, M.D., Ph.D., Christopher M. Davis Professor and professor and program leader in Wistar’s Tumor Immunology Program, has focused research efforts on abnormalities in the function of various myeloid suppressor cells. Gabrilovich and colleagues have developed and validated a new biomarker that will show if a tumor is inhibiting the immune system’s response to the tumor by targeting the migration of myeloid cells to tumor tissues.

“This partnership provides us with the opportunity to assess the clinical utility of our new detection method of myeloid-derived suppressor cells in tumors,” said Gabrilovich. “The evaluation of these cells directly in tumors is critically important for understanding the effect of the novel therapy developed by Cormorant.”

Scientists in the Gabrilovich lab, working in collaboration with Cormorant, developed this biomarker based on understanding how myeloid suppressor cells play a major role in the regulation of immune responses.

“Dr. Gabrilovich is a world leader in identifying myeloid-derived suppressor cells and understanding their role in tumor progression,” said Heather A. Steinman, Ph.D., M.B.A., vice president for Business Development and executive director of Technology Transfer at The Wistar Institute. “Wistar is excited to support this project, pairing his expertise with Cormorant’s new biologic candidate and aligning the goals of both parties to accelerate the development of cancer therapies while attaining the highest possible chance of successfully improving patient outcomes.”

“Wistar’s biomarker analysis of the tumor samples will be instrumental in determining the effects of HuMax-IL8 on tumor immunosuppression,” said Maarten de Château, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Cormorant Pharmaceuticals. “Cormorant counts The Wistar Institute in its network of industry authorities with experience contributing critical and valuable expertise thereby advancing future cancer therapeutics to create a major health impact.”


Cormorant Pharmaceuticals AB is a biopharmaceutical company focused on development of therapeutics for the treatment of cancer and rare diseases. It is based on the principle of combining new research findings with existing drug substances in order to bring innovation faster to the patient. Focusing on areas where there is a great unmet medical need, Cormorant works closely with a network of key stakeholders, including academic researchers, partnering companies, clinical experts, patient advocacy groups and regulators—in order to bring tangible health benefits to patients in a timely manner. The company has a virtual organization and relies heavily on a carefully selected network of expert consultants and subcontractors in the different fields relevant to drug development. www.cormorantpharma.com.



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