IMV Technology

 

Immunovalent Therapeutics is a precision medicine company harnessing microfluidic technology to revolutionize the treatment of cancer immunotherapy. Immunotherapy treatments have proven successful in the treatment of cancer by stimulating the immune system to destroy tumors. 

While immunotherapy treatments have proven to be effective in treating some malignant disease, their benefits are unfortunately limited to a subset of patients.  Significant efforts to identify appropriate biomarkers to guide treatment choices and provide predictive data have fallen short of the needs of practicing clinicians.

Cancer immunotherapy is a rapidly growing field and includes a variety of approaches that attempt to augment the innate ability of our immune system to recognize cancer cells as non-self or foreign and destroy them. Monitoring this dynamic process is very challenging, and there is no standardized or proven approach.  Recently, checkpoint inhibitors have expanded their therapeutic range, now carrying FDA approvals for the treatment of melanoma, merkel cell carcinoma, lung cancer, urothelial cancer, renal cell cancer, Hodgkin lymphoma, head and neck squamous cell cancer, and microsatellite unstable tumors. Biomarkers will be crucial to the implementation, proper patient selection and monitoring of immunotherapy for this growing population of cancer patients.   

The IMV assay leverages the innate ability of the immune system to recognize tumor as foreign and evaluates a potential simple and effective biomarker capable of monitoring the actual interaction between tumor and T-cell in a directly observable manner—this is unique among all currently available approaches. 

To best monitor active immune responses, the interaction between tumor and immune system would ideally be modeled and monitored in real time, ex vivo.  Such dynamic evaluation of immune lymphocyte and tumor cell interaction would provide personalized immune monitoring, and allow an accurate assessment of ongoing immune activity – response or nonresponse, guiding clinicians in the management of individual patients.  Immunovalent (IMV) is an early stage biotechnology company that has developed technology that simplifies the process of isolating and monitoring targeted T-cell populations utilizing a microfluidic device as the means to differentiate tumor-specific and non-specific T-cell populations.  This allows monitoring of active immune responses utilizing peripheral blood and sampled tumor tissue.

 
 

IMV Technology Helps Physicians  Track and Monitor a Patient’s Progress by Determining and Measuring the Systemic Immune Response.

 
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 Our Team

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Steven George, MD, PhD, Chief Technology Officer

Steven George, M.D.,Ph.D. leads University of California, Davis Biomedical Engineering one of the nation’s top-ranked biomedical engineering departments.  Before joining UC Davis as a Professor of Biomedical Engineering, George was the Elvera and William Stuckenberg Professor and Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. He received his bachelors degree in chemical engineering in 1987 from Northwestern University, M.D. from the University of Missouri School of Medicine in 1991, and Ph.D. from the University of Washington in chemical engineering in 1995.  He was on the faculty at the University of California, Irvine for 19 years (1995-2014) where he pursued a range of research interests including pulmonary gas exchange, lung mechanics, vascularizing engineered tissues, and microphysiological systems. The NIH FIRST award in 1998 and the CAREER and Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) from the National Science Foundation in 1999 have previously recognized his work.  While at UCI, he served as the William J. Link Professor and founding Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering (2002-2009), the Director of the Edwards Lifesciences Center for Advanced Cardiovascular Technology (2009-2014), and was the founding PI on a T32 predoctoral training grant from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. He was elected a fellow in the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) in 2007, and has published more than 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts.  His work is currently funded by grants from the NIH that focus on creating tissue engineered models of the cardiac, pancreas, and cancer microenvironments using induced pluripotent stem cell and microfabrication technology.

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Gavin Dunn, MD, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer

Gavin Dunn, M.D., Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery, a core faculty member in the Andrew M. and Jane M. Burksy Center for Human Immunology and Immunotherapy Programs, and the Director of Brain Tumor Immunology and Therapeutics at the Washington University School of Medicine.  In this capacity, he is a neurosurgeon-scientist committed to taking care of patients with brain tumors and to advancing our understanding of their diseases by directing a research program centered on the immunobiology of malignant brain tumors.  His ongoing research efforts reflect a long-standing commitment to cancer research that began during his doctoral work at Washington University. There, he developed expertise in cancer immunology through his work with Dr. Robert Schreiber, elaborating a novel description of the relationship between immunity and tumors termed “cancer immunoediting”. During his neurosurgical training at Massachusetts General Hospital, he pursued complementary postdoctoral training with Dr. William Hahn’s group at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Broad Institute in order to develop expertise in functional genomics. Currently, his laboratory research program focuses on the intersection of immunology and genomics—i.e, “cancer immunogenomics”—in order to probe basic questions in the anti-glioma immune response, develop novel immunocompetent mouse models of gliomagenesis, and to develop novel personalized vaccine approaches to patients with glioblastoma.  His group is also highly interested in broad questions related to the function and states of the immune system in the central nervous system over time and in particular disease states.  As a member of Immunovalent, he works closely with the team to develop new methodologies for personalized, microfluidics-based enrichment of tumor specific lymphocytes for use in a broad range of clinical and research applications.

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Eric Leuthardt, MD, Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Eric C. Leuthardt is a neurosurgeon and professor with the Departments of Neurological Surgery, Neuroscience, Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering here at Washington University. He is Director of the Center for Innovation in Neuroscience and Technology as well as Director of the Brain Laser Center. As a neurosurgeon his specialties include brain tumors, the surgical treatment of epilepsy, gamma knife, laser ablation and brain tumors in functional areas such as speech and motor. His leads a biomedical engineering lab and his research focuses on neuroprosthetics - devices linked to the brain that may restore function to patients with motor disabilities. His work in the field of neuroprosthetics and neurosurgical devices has yielded him numerous accolades as a scientist, a neurosurgeon, and an inventor. Finally, Dr. Leuthardt is also the author of a techno-thriller called Red Devil 4, is the chief editor of Frontiers in Neuroprosthetics, has started several companies and has nearly 1600 patents on file.

 

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