Harpoon Therapeutics is an immuno-oncology company using a proprietary technology platform focused on T cell engagement to discover and develop novel biologics for the treatment of cancer and other diseases. The company is developing a broad portfolio of drug candidates, and plans to develop its own oncology products in the U.S., as well as selectively partner other products to access global markets. Additionally, Harpoon will seek strategic partnerships to expand its proprietary and platform technologies for use in oncology and other diseases.
Harpoon was founded in 2015 by a small team led by Patrick Baeuerle, Ph.D., a pioneer in the development of T cell based human therapies, and Luke Evnin, Ph.D., a founder of MPM Capital. The company has designed a novel antibody-based drug discovery platform called TriTAC™ (Tri-specific T cell Activating Construct) that unleashes the target cell-killing properties of a patient’s own immune system through T cell activation. TriTAC™ antibodies are designed to simultaneously bind to cancer cells and T cells, causing the attached T cells to release toxic factors leading to destruction of the attached target cell. In addition, TriTAC™ antibodies are engineered to bind to human serum albumin which allows for less frequent dosing, and their relatively small size allows for improved penetration into tumor tissue.
While the TriTAC™ platform was specifically developed to address solid tumor malignancies, the company is exploring the potential use of this novel class of T cell-engaging antibodies for the treatment of blood cancers and other severe diseases such as acute and chronic inflammation, and viral infection.
Harpoon’s first clinical candidate, HPN424, is a prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA)-targeting TriTAC™. HPN424 is in development for the treatment of metastatic prostate cancer and is expected to enter Phase 1 clinical trials in 2018. The company anticipates additional clinical candidates to be identified and move into development within the next year.