Scientific background

Targeted antibody therapy for cancer and inflammation

Cantargia develops targeted antibody-based treatments for life-threatening diseases. Cantargia’s treatment has an effect on both the tumour cells and the immune defence, and this type of treatment, immunotherapy, is gaining ever-increasing significance in cancer care. Immunotherapy is a new kind of cancer treatment in addition to the traditional methods of surgery, radiotherapy and cytostatics. Research in this field is intensive, and it is constantly producing new results. In particular, the award of the 2018 Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology for research specifically in immunotherapy has helped to raise the profile of this field of research.

We have concentrated on two types of cancer where there is a great medical need: non-small cell lung cancer and pancreatic cancer. Lung cancer is the form of cancer with the highest mortality rate and non-small cell lung cancer is the most common form of lung cancer. Pancreatic cancer is also associated with a grim prognosis, with only a few patients being cured and the progress made in research being insufficient. Since the molecule IL1RAP, which is the goal for our research, is present in most types of cancer, the potential for treatment is significant. Cantargia has shown that IL1RAP is present in non-small cell lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, bowel cancer, liver cancer, head and neck cancer, oesophageal cancer, malignant melanoma and leukaemia. IL1RAP is also of interest as a target protein for the treatment of many different inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

Targeted antibody treatments can be used to improve the likelihood of an effective treatment that produces fewer side effects for patients. The goal for us is to develop a new drug that, by itself or in combination with other drugs, can form an important part of future cancer treatment.

Immunotherapy with a double mechanism of action

Cantargia’s immunotherapy is unique because it has a double mechanism of action that is effective against both cancer cells directly, while also counteracting the so-called tumour inflammation that is one of the most significant components in the development of the tumour disease.

The technology platform is based on the development of antibodies to the protein IL1RAP (interleukin-1 receptor accessory protein), which plays a central role in the development of cancer. Cantargia’s principal candidate – CAN04 (nidanilimab) – stimulates the body's killer cells to find and kill the tumour cells directly, while at the same time blocking the inflammatory signal paths (the interleukin-1 system) which the tumour exploits for growth and as a defence strategy.


Autoimmune/inflammatory diseases the next area for development

Cantargia’s research finds application in several pathological areas. Autoimmune and inflammatory diseases are also driven largely by IL1RAP and the interleukin-1-system. Cantargia is in the discovery phase in the development of a new antibody to IL1RAP with the candidate name CANxx. A patent as part of this project has already been approved by the US patents office and the objective now is to select a product candidate in the course of 2019.


Cantargia’s technology platform is based on the development of new antibodies to the protein IL1RAP. This protein plays a central role in the development of a number of severe, life-threatening diseases, and new antibodies with unique properties in terms of blocking signalling from Il-1, IL-33 and IL-36 could find some application in the treatment of various diseases. The principal candidate, CAN04, has been designed for the treatment of various types of cancer, focussing initially on non-small cell lung cancer and pancreatic cancer. As part of the CANxx project, a new antibody is being developed with properties that include a potent effect on IL-33 signalling. The platform is now being further refined in the form of new antibodies that are designed to treat autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Another potential area of development is asthma/allergy.

The potential of CAN04. See the animated film.