Medicenna Strengthens Superkine Platform with Issuance of U.S. Patents

VANCOUVER and HOUSTON, Dec. 15, 2016 /CNW/ - Medicenna Therapeutics Inc. ("Medicenna" or the "Company"), a private clinical stage immunotherapy company developing first in class proprietary cytokines called Superkines™, today announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office recently issued two patents related to the company's Superkine™ platform.  U.S. Patents 9,428,567 and 9,512,194, issued to the Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University (Stanford University) and licensed exclusively to Medicenna, cover the composition of engineered IL-2 and IL-13 Superkines™, respectively.

"The issuance of these two patents underscores the comprehensive approach we have taken to building our Superkine™ patent portfolio," said Dr. Fahar Merchant, Chairman and CEO of Medicenna Therapeutics.  "These patents provide protection to 2033, and along with additional applications we have filed in the U.S and worldwide, provide a solid foundation for the company and our potential partners to fully develop this exciting platform."

Superkines™ have exceptionally high selectivity and affinity for receptor sub-types, resulting in superior safety and efficacy.  Proof of concept results published in leading scientific journals such as Nature1 and Science2 have demonstrated the significant potential of these Superkine™ agonists and antagonists to address unmet needs in oncology, respiratory, fibrotic, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.  The Superkines™ covered under the issued patents include the company's lead pre-clinical therapeutic candidates, MDNA109 and MDNA413.

About MDNA109 and MDNA413
MDNA109 is an engineered version of recombinant human IL-2 (Aldesleukin), a product approved for the treatment of metastatic melanoma and renal cell cancer. Unlike Aldesleukin, MDNA109 binds IL-2Rβϒc with high affinity irrespective of the presence of CD25. As a result, MDNA109 stimulates anti-tumor effector cells more effectively than Aldesleukin and limits stimulation of regulatory T cells, which not only impedes Aldesleukin's therapeutic response but also mediates its toxicity. As a next-generation cancer immunotherapeutic, MDNA109 addresses the fundamental limitations for successful IL-2 therapy due to its enhanced potency and substantially superior tolerability profile.

MDNA413 is an IL-13 Superkine™ antagonist engineered to selectively bind with high affinity to the Type II IL-4 receptor and shown to potently block both IL-4 and IL-13 signaling. With validation of the IL-4/IL-13 axis as an effective therapeutic target for atopic dermatitis and asthma, Medicenna believes MDNA413 has the potential to be an important differentiated product compared to antibodies currently in late stage development.

About Medicenna Therapeutics
Medicenna Therapeutics is a clinical stage immunotherapy company developing novel highly selective engineered versions of IL‐2, IL‐4 and IL‐13 cytokines called Superkines™ and first in class Empowered Cytokines™ (ECs). It's wholly owned subsidiary, Houston‐based Medicenna BioPharma, is specifically targeting the Interleukin‐4 Receptor (IL4R), which is over‐expressed by at least 20 different types of cancer affecting more than one million new cancer patients every year. Medicenna's lead IL‐4EC, MDNA55, is entering Phase 2b clinical trials for glioblastoma, the most aggressive and common form of brain cancer. MDNA55 has completed three clinical trials in 72 patients with recurrent glioblastoma, demonstrated compelling efficacy and obtained Fast‐Track Designation from USFDA and Orphan Drug Status from USFDA and EMA. Unlike most other cancer therapies, Medicenna's IL‐4 ECs have the potential to purge both the tumor and the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment, offering a unique treatment paradigm for a large majority of cancer patients. For more information, please visit www.medicenna.com.

The information in this press release may contain certain forward-looking statements, including the quote of Medicenna's President and CEO and any expectations relating to the Company's clinical development program, achievement of product development milestones, a go-public transaction, and/or the timing of these. Such statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those implied by such statements, and therefore these statements should not be read as guarantees of future performance or results. All forward-looking statements are based on Medicenna's current beliefs as well as assumptions made by and information currently available to Medicenna and relate to, among other things, anticipated financial performance, business prospects, strategies, regulatory developments, clinical trial results, market acceptance, ability to raise capital and future commitments. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. Due to risks and uncertainties, including those identified by Medicenna, actual events may differ materially from current expectations. Medicenna disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.              

1Levin, AM et al. Exploiting a natural conformational switch to engineer an interleukin-2 'superkine.' Nature 484 (7395): 529–533, 2012

2Moraga I, et al.  Instructive roles for cytokine-receptor binding parameters in determining signaling and functional potency.  Science Signaling 8: 402, 2015                                             

SOURCE Medicenna Therapeutics Inc.

For further information: Company Contact: Fahar Merchant, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Medicenna Therapeutics, Inc., 604-671-6673, fmerchant@medicenna.com; Investor Relations Contact: Michael Moore or Abby Garfunkel, Investor Relations, NATIONAL Equicom, 858-886-7813 / 403-218-2887, mmoore@national.ca / agarfunkel@national.ca


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