Our Science

Restoring immune balance by mastering inhibitory signaling

Immune imbalance is at the heart of many conditions that are marked by an attack on the body’s own cells. MiroBio is advancing a new class of therapies designed to restore immune balance and potentially provide durable remission from these complex and often chronic immune-mediated conditions.

The dynamic immune environment can help – or harm

The immune system consists of highly specialized cells that have evolved to detect, identify, and destroy cells and organisms that would otherwise do us harm. These immune cells are controlled by a fine balance of stimulatory and inhibitory signals delivered by receptors on the cells’ surfaces.

It is a complex and continual interplay, creating a balance known as immune homeostasis.

Like any precisely tuned machine, this system can spin out of control.

Too little immune activity can permit invaders or tolerate the accelerating growth of young tumors. Too much activity results in an attack on harmless targets such as the body’s own cells, resulting in autoimmune diseases. These diseases are complex, idiosyncratic and often deeply impactful on quality of life. Their prevalence is rising around the world.

Autoimmunity is a failure of immune balance – and we’re focused on restoring it.

Inhibitory receptors are key to
immune balance – this is our

We are focused on overcoming these challenges with a new class of biologic therapies: checkpoint agonist antibodies. These are designed to selectively activate the inhibitory receptors which naturally act to restore immune activity towards a baseline. By precisely reducing overactive immune receptor signaling in disease, our approach is designed to be highly cell- and disease mechanism-specific without being broadly immunosuppressive.

This is relatively uncharted territory for therapeutics, but our journey began with a 15-year head start based on groundbreaking research into inhibitory receptors by our scientific founders at the University of Oxford.

There are over 70 inhibitory receptors, expressed at varying levels across the many kinds of immune cells, themselves in constant flux throughout the body in response to the environment, health status and immune signal activity. The diversity of these receptors, the nuances of how they communicate, and the effects they engender creates a vast web of connections with huge potential for therapeutic intervention.

A clear opportunity in precision
biologics for autoimmune disease

Vast efforts are underway to stimulate the immune system to fight cancer. The inhibitory receptor PD-1 has famously been targeted by drugs that block its immune dampening effects, thereby stimulating immune cells back into battle against tumors. At MiroBio, we are focused on harnessing – not blocking – the inhibitory receptors at the heart of immune checkpoints to provide durable remission from autoimmune disease.

Current treatments for these debilitating diseases are non-selective which means that they acutely suppress both appropriate and inappropriate immune responses. This approach is only partially effective and must be used on a short-term basis, as long-term immunosuppression risks infection and the development of cancer. Furthermore, many of these existing therapies are small molecule drugs which lack the exquisite precision of biologic therapies and can have multiple off-target side effects.

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