Founded in April 2014 in Grenoble (France) as a spin-off of the French Blood Bank (Etablissement Français du Sang, EFS), PDC*line Pharma is a Belgian-French biotech company that is developing a novel class of off-the-shelf cancer immunotherapies based on a proprietary Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cell line (PDC*line) pre-loaded with peptides that are derived from target tumor antigens. Based on a robust preclinical package and a first-in-human phase Ib feasibility study in melanoma, PDC*line Pharma is focusing on lung cancer with a new candidate in phase 1b/2 clinical trial (PDC*lung) and neoantigens (PDC*Neo). PDC*line Pharma comprises a team of highly skilled professionals based in Liège (Belgium) and Grenoble (France). PDC*line Pharma comprises a team of 20 persons and has raised nearly €17 M in equity and non-dilutive funding.
PDC*line offers unique advantages over conventional cancer vaccines:
1. PDC*line is a professional antigen-presenting cell, much more potent than conventional cancer vaccines in priming and expanding antitumor-specific cytotoxic T cells.
2. PDC*vac can easily be produced on a large scale, with a fully mastered and simple manufacturing process (use of bioreactors; no need for growth, differentiation or activation factors; storage for years).
3. PDC*vac is easy to use: the off-the-shelf product in its ready-to use formulation is thawed and injected to treat any patient with a cancer type expressing the target antigens.
4. PDC*vac technology is very versatile: tumor antigens could be provided by simple peptide pulsing (currently used) , mRNA transfection or retrovirus transduction of PDC*line; the target population can be extended beyond HLA-A2 (currently used) by using other HLA already expressed by PDC*line, or added by genetic modification.
5. PDC*vac synergizes with anti-PD-1 to boost antitumor CD8+ T cells.
In addition, the safety of PDC*vac and its ability to prime and boost antitumor T cells in vivo have already been demonstrated in humanized mice and in melanoma patients.
PDC*line Pharma develops innovative and potent therapeutic cancer vaccines which overcome the challenges encountered by earlier cancer-vaccine strategies. The objective of PDC*line Pharma is to demonstrate that its innovative approach can prime and boost CD8+ T cells' antitumor immunity in lung-cancer patients and enhance clinical response to anti-PD-1.