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July 6, 2023 at 12:59 PM EDT

Corvus Pharmaceuticals Announces Publication of Preclinical Data Demonstrating Potential Novel Approach to Immunotherapy Based on Inhibition of ITK with Soquelitinib (CPI-818)

 Data highlights the differentiated mechanism of action of soquelitinib to enhance anti-tumor immune response to hematologic and solid tumors

Soquelitinib shown to increase infiltration of cancer killing T cells with greater potency and less resistance due to exhaustion

BURLINGAME, Calif., July 06, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Corvus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: CRVS), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, today announced the publication of preclinical data on soquelitinib (formerly known as CPI-818), the Company’s ITK inhibitor product candidate, which highlighted the selective inhibition of ITK to potentially enhance anti-tumor immune response to hematologic and solid tumors and provide a novel approach to cancer immunotherapy.

The publication, entitled “Selective Inhibition of Interleukin 2 Inducible T Cell Kinase (ITK) Enhances Anti-Tumor Immunity in Association with Th1-skewing, Cytotoxic T cell Activation, and Reduced T Cell Exhaustion,” provides a detailed overview of the chemical structure, enzymatic activity and immunobiologic properties of soquelitinib. The published research was a result of collaborations between scientists at Corvus and researchers at the University of Michigan, The Ohio State University, Peking University and Stanford University. The publication is now available online as a preprint at and on the Publications and Presentations page of the Corvus website.

“This significant scientific report demonstrates the potential of highly selective ITK inhibition, now enabled by soquelitinib. The data indicate that this mechanism, if approved, may become the backbone of a new immunotherapy approach to cancer and we believe it will extend the opportunity for the continued development of soquelitinib as a single agent or in combination with other therapies to treat a variety of cancer tumor types,” said Richard A. Miller., co-founder, president and chief executive officer of Corvus.

The findings reported indicate that ITK is a novel drug target and its blockade may enhance the body’s immune response to cancer. ITK is an enzyme predominantly expressed by T lymphocytes. ITK plays a major role in the function of T cells which are generally acknowledged as a critical cell in the immunotherapy of cancer.  Soquelitinib is currently being studied in a Phase 1/1b clinical trial as a single agent therapy in patients with relapsed T cell lymphoma (TCL). Corvus plans to meet with the FDA in the third quarter of 2023 to discuss a Phase 3 registration clinical trial in patients with relapsed TCL.

Key results from the preclinical studies described in the publication demonstrated that soquelitinib:

  • Is a covalent, irreversible inhibitor that selectively binds to and inhibits ITK function while sparing other closely related kinases, including resting lymphocyte kinase (RLK).
  • Inhibited Th2 T cell function and the production of various Th2 cytokines leading to Th1 skewing and production of interferon gamma and tumor necrosis factor, which are important cytokines in tumor rejection. Th2 cytokines have been previously implicated in promoting tumor growth and are also involved in autoimmune and allergic diseases.
  • Activated cytotoxic killer cells and increases infiltration of these cells into tumors.
  • Reduced and reversed T cell exhaustion resulting in a more potent and prolonged immune response. T cell exhaustion is often a major reason for resistance to immune checkpoint therapy.
  • Led to in vivo anti-tumor activity in several mouse tumor models, including colon, renal, melanoma, B cell and T cell tumors.

About Corvus Pharmaceuticals
Corvus Pharmaceuticals is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company pioneering the development of ITK inhibition as a new approach to immunotherapy for a broad range of cancer and immune diseases. The Company’s lead product candidate is soquelitinib, an investigational, oral, small molecule drug that selectively inhibits ITK and is in a mid-stage clinical trial for patients with T cell lymphoma. Its other clinical-stage candidates are being developed for a variety of cancer indications. For more information, visit

About Soquelitinib (CPI-818)
Soquelitinib is an investigational small molecule drug given orally that has selectively inhibited ITK (interleukin-2-inducible T cell kinase) in preclinical studies. ITK, an enzyme, is expressed predominantly in T cells and plays a role in T cell and natural killer (NK) cell immune function. The immunologic effects of soquelitinib lead to what is known as Th1 skewing and is made possible by the high selectivity of soquelitinib for ITK. Recent clinical data in T cell lymphomas, and preclinical studies in murine solid tumor models, suggests that soquelitinib has the potential to control differentiation of normal T helper cells and enhance immune responses to tumors by augmenting the generation of cytotoxic killer T cells and the production of cytokines that inhibit cancer cell survival. Optimal doses of soquelitinib have been shown to affect T cell differentiation and induce the generation of Th1 helper cells while blocking the development of both Th2 and Th17 cells and production of Th2 related cytokines. Th1 T cells are required for immunity to tumors, viral infections and other infectious diseases. Th2 and Th17 helper T cells are involved in the pathogenesis of many autoimmune and allergic diseases. The Company believes the inhibition of specific molecular targets in T cells may be of therapeutic benefit for patients with cancers, including solid tumors, and in patients with autoimmune and allergic diseases. The Company is conducting a Phase 1/1b trial in patients with refractory T cell lymphomas that was designed to select the optimal dose of soquelitinib and evaluate its safety, PK, target occupancy, immunologic effects, biomarkers and efficacy. Interim data from the Phase 1/1b clinical trial of soquelitinib for T cell lymphoma demonstrated tumor responses in very advanced, refractory, difficult to treat T cell malignancies, and identified a dose that maximally drives Th1 skewing.

Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements, including statements related to the potential safety and efficacy of the Company’s product candidates including soquelitinib; the potential use of soquelitinib to treat a variety of solid tumors and hematological cancers and its ability to act as a single agent or in combination with other therapies; the Company’s ability and its partners’ ability, as well as the timing thereof, to develop and advance product candidates into and successfully complete preclinical studies and clinical trials, including the Company’s Phase 1/1b clinical trial of soquelitinib; and the timing of the Company’s planned meeting with the FDA to discuss a registration clinical trial with soquelitinib for T cell lymphoma during the third quarter of this year. All statements other than statements of historical fact contained in this press release are forward-looking statements. These statements often include words such as “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “plan,” “estimate,” “seek,” “will,” “may” or similar expressions. Forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, many of which involve factors or circumstances that are beyond the Company’s control. The Company’s actual results could differ materially from those stated or implied in forward-looking statements due to a number of factors, including but not limited to, risks detailed in the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the three months ended March 31, 2023, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on May 8, 2023, as well as other documents that may be filed by the Company from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In particular, the following factors, among others, could cause results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements: the Company’s ability to demonstrate sufficient evidence of efficacy and safety in its clinical trials of soquelitinib and its other product candidates; the accuracy of the Company’s estimates relating to its ability to initiate and/or complete preclinical studies and clinical trials; the results of preclinical studies and interim data from clinical trials not being predictive of future results; the unpredictability of the regulatory process; regulatory developments in the United States, and other foreign countries; the costs of clinical trials may exceed expectations; and the Company’s ability to raise additional capital. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, it cannot guarantee that the events and circumstances reflected in the forward-looking statements will be achieved or occur, and the timing of events and circumstances and actual results could differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Accordingly, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. All such statements speak only as of the date made, and the Company undertakes no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Leiv Lea
Chief Financial Officer
Corvus Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Sheryl Seapy
Real Chemistry

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Source: Corvus Pharmaceuticals, Inc.