Recent advances in cancer immunotherapy have resulted in medications that have profound benefit to some patients. Unfortunately, most cancer victims are relatively unresponsive to single agents such as PD1 checkpoint inhibitors. Literally hundreds of clinical studies are currently being conducted to identify therapeutic combinations that improve the response rate. The vast majority of these immunotherapy combinations affect the adaptive immune system; this represents one arm of the immune system. We focus on the second arm, the innate immune system. It is well-recognized that one of the next big breakthroughs in cancer immunotherapy is likely to involve combinations of agents that activate both innate and adaptive immunity.


We are developing an orally administered toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7) agonist for systemic activation of innate immunity. The TLR7 receptor is expressed on plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) and B-cells. Anti-tumor mechanisms engaged by a TLR7 agonist include:


  • Activation of pDCs to produce cytokines and chemokines that up-regulate general cellular responses
  • NK (natural killer) cell activation
  • CTL (cytotoxic T-cell or CD8+ T-cell) activation
  • Enhanced antibody-mediated killing of tumor cells via antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC), particularly with therapeutic mAbs as well as endogenous antibodies
  • Increase in proliferation and activation of B-cells


Current Challenge

In general, candidate drugs from other leading programs targeting innate immunity must be administered via intratumoral injection. This results in limitations that are circumvented by an orally delivered, systemically distributed TLR7 agonist. Advantages to our approach include an ability to:

  • Access all solid

  • Treat blood

  • Address all metastatic

  • Stimulate B-Cell proliferation
    and activation

    most innate immunity approaches do not have an effect on B-Cells

  • Flexibility in dosing

    frequent dosing is difficult with intratumoral injections

Currently there are no other TLR7 agonists approved or in development for cancer therapy that are acceptable for systemic delivery, a key requirement for the treatment of most solid and liquid tumors.


Our team is committed to the invention of new medicines to treat people suffering from cancer and to the creation of substantial value for our investors and partners. We have comprehensive experience in the science and business of drug discovery and development.

Contact Us

JLABS San Diego
3210 Merryfield Row
San Diego, CA 92121