Immune therapy developed through Sanford Burnham Prebys and Lilly collaboration enters Phase 1 clinical trial

Eli Lilly Co. and SBP

Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) today announced that the first healthy subject has been dosed in a Phase 1 clinical trial evaluating LY3361237, a biologic that inhibits inflammation by activating an immune checkpoint receptor. LY3361237 arose from a research collaboration between Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly) and SBP formed in 2015 that seeks to discover and develop new immunological therapies. 

Diseases such as lupus, psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis result from dysfunction of the immune system. Many of these conditions are characterized in part by immune checkpoint failure, resulting in the immune system attacking normal tissue. Previous studies have shown that activating checkpoint receptors can suppress inflammation and restore immune balance—indicating its therapeutic potential. More than 80 diseases are caused by the immune system attacking the body’s own organs, tissues and cells, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  

“Today’s milestone is an important step forward for patients who suffer from autoimmune disease,” says Carl Ware, Ph.D., director of the Infectious and Inflammatory Diseases Center at SBP. “This advance also illustrates how the fundamental understanding of a biological process—in this case, the role of checkpoint receptors in immune function—can translate to the development of new medicines.”

“Immunological disorders—many of which disproportionately impact women—affect millions of people around the world and remain an area of great medical unmet need,” adds Ajay Nirula, M.D., Ph.D., vice president of Immunology at Lilly. “Our collaboration with SBP is a powerful example of how uniting complementary areas of expertise—deep foundational scientific knowledge from SBP combined with expertise in protein engineering, immunobiology and clinical development from Lilly— can lead to a promising new candidate to treat autoimmune disorders.”

The study will evaluate the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of LY3361237 in healthy subjects. Further information about the trial can be found on ClinicalTrials.gov using the Identifier NCT03695198.

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