Optimized discovery of tumor specific antigens for neuroblastoma immunotherapy


Data-driven discovery of tumor antigens using ligandomics, proteomics, and gene expression


Market Need

The current standard of care for high-risk neuroblastoma is extremely costly, involving an intense regimen of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, multiple surgeries, and immunotherapy (a typical treatment regimen for high-risk neuroblastoma can be found at http://neuroblastoma.ca/845/). Most high-risk patients suffer a relapse during or after these therapies, and survivors are left with extreme morbidities including stunted growth, cognitive impairment, sterility, and increased incidence of secondary tumors. T-cell therapies have achieved remarkable curative responses in as little as one dose in tumors with favorable target properties (mostly in leukemia). The biggest challenge in developing T-cell therapies for neuroblastoma is the scarcity of tumor specific, targetable molecules. 

Technology Overview

The Maris Lab has developed a pipeline that is able to identify novel targets with superior specificity to current immunotherapy targets, opening the therapeutic window to allow safer and more potent therapies. We are able to target new classes of antigens that have been historically very challenging to target, including key transcription factors that act as master regulators in tumor growth. We have developed a unique process that combines recently developed cutting-edge technologies across the fields of proteomics, ligandomics, genomics, machine learning, and single-cell sequencing technologies, in order to identify potent tumor targets and develop immune therapies specific to these targets. The focus is on identifying targets and engineering receptors that can be used therapeutically against novel classes of tumor targets in low mutational tumors for which targets were previously considered to be absent.

Importantly, this discovery pipeline is agnostic to the T-cell platform used to administer these therapies, allowing us to partner with different companies specializing in developing various approaches for improving the manufacturing and T-cell modification process to improve the efficacy (i.e. autologous, allogeneic, CRISPR, PD-1 knockout, universal T-cells, logic-gated, bi-specifics, inducible, and safety switched T-cells). Regarding neuroblastoma specifically, the lab has identified some initial promising targets and T-cell receptors that they are continuing to optimize. Partnerships are available for both the discovery pipeline and the specific antigens and T-cell receptors that have already been identified for neuroblastoma.



•       Allows discovery of tumor antigens on low mutation tumors

•       Discovery pipeline compatible with all T-cell platforms



•       Accelerate development of T-cell mediated immunotherapies against cancer such as neuroblastoma

•       Discovery of tumor antigens on low mutation tumors


Stage of Development: in vitro proof of concept


IP: Provisional Patent Pending


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For Information, Contact:
Cassie Tran
Licensing Associate
The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
John Maris
Mark Yarmarkovich