About us

Catapult Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing CAP-100 – an anti-CCR7 antibody with a unique mechanism of action interfering with the fundamental pathology of hematological malignancies. Catapult’s phase I clinical trial is currently performed at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and two other leading clinical sites in the USA.

Catapult Therapeutics was established in 2015 as a Dutch privately held joint venture between Spanish and Dutch partners. Catapult is founded on the discoveries of Dr Cecilia Munoz and her group at Hospital La Princesa in Madrid. They identified and validated CCR7 as a therapeutic target for leukemias and lymphomas. Technology of Dutch biotech company Pepscan made it possible to generate antibodies against human CCR7.

 

The product:

CAP-100

CAP-100 is an anti-CCR7 antibody with a unique and biologically independent therapeutic mechanism of action for treatment of CCR7-positive hematological malignancies. Preclinical studies have demonstrated CAP-100’s unique ability to treat primary tumor cells from patients with human chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and different non-Hodgkin lymphoma s(NHL) at a fundamental point, by interrupting tumor cell migration to and survival in lymph nodes. In addition, CAP-100 provides strong cell killing (ADCC) while preserving normal blood cells and inhibition of survival of tumor cells in the lymph nodes. Furthermore, CAP-100 may also be an effective treatment for other CCR7-expressing B- and T-cell leukemias and lymphomas as well as for graft-versus-host disease (GvHd).

Blocking tumor cell migration to the lymph nodes together with potent tumor cell killing is CAP-100’s unique mechanisms of action, which is complementary to current standard treatments for hematological malignancies. This means that this humanized IgG1 monoclonal antibody can not only be used as a monotherapy, but has the potential to be combined with current standards of care for CLL and other hematological malignancies.

Pre-clinical results

In various in vitro and in vivo preclinical models CAP-100 strongly inhibited CCR7-induced migration, extravasation, homing, and survival in CLL and NHL samples. Moreover, it triggered potent tumor cell killing, mediated by host immune mechanisms, and was effective in xenograft models of high-risk disease. Additionally, CAP-100 showed a favorable toxicity profile on relevant hematopoietic subsets. The results validated CAP-100 as a novel therapeutic tool to prevent the access of CLL cells, and other neoplasia with nodal-dependence, into the LN niches, thus hitting a central hub in the pathogenesis of cancer.

Publications

Targeting cancer homing into the lymph node with a novel anti-CCR7 therapeutic antibody: the paradigm of CLL

Cuesta-Mateos C, Juárez-Sánchez R, Mateu-Albero T, et al. MAbs. 2021;13(1).

Of Lymph Nodes and CLL Cells: Deciphering the Role of CCR7 in the Pathogenesis of CLL and Understanding Its Potential as Therapeutic Target

Cuesta-Mateos C, Brown JR, Terrón F, Muñoz-Calleja C. Front Immunol. 2021; Mar 24.

The trial

Phase I

Catapult Therapeutics initiated a Phase 1 clinical trial (clinicaltrials.gov #NCT04704323) in patients with relapsed or refractory CLL (chronic lymphocytic leukemia). The clinical trial is designed to evaluate the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and preliminary anti-tumor activity of CAP-100 in relapsed or refractory patients to at least two prior standard systemic treatment regimens for CLL or SLL (small lymphocytic lymphoma) and having no available therapies known to provide clinical benefit.

The trial will enroll an estimated number of 25 patients and is performed in 3 Academic Sites in the US.

The target

CCR7

Chemokines are proteins that orchestrate cell trafficking into and from lymphoid organs and tissues. The chemokine receptor CCR7 drives migration of tumor cells to the lymph nodes. In this protective microenvironment, CCR7 ligands CCL19 and CCL21 promote tumor cell survival and proliferation. In addition, tumor cells may hijack the chemokine pathway by expressing chemokine receptors, allowing them to migrate to distant sites.

This pivotal receptor is over-expressed in hematological malignancies with lymph node involvement, such as CLL and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) amongst others.  CCR7 expression is high, regardless of the severity of the disease at diagnosis, high-risk factors (e.g. patients with a chromosome 17p deletion) or prior treatments with other agents.

Chemokine receptors are very challenging targets to generate antibodies against. Technology developed by the Dutch biotech company Pepscan made it possible to generate a panel of potent anti-CCR7 antibodies, including CAP-100.

 

Our team

Catapult Therapeutics is led by an experienced team of managers and scientists from the Netherlands and Spain. Catapult Therapeutics was established in 2015 as a joint venture between Spanish and Dutch partners.

Dominik Höchli (MD)

CEO

Dominik Höchli has a medical degree (MD) from the University of Bern. After residencies in adult and pediatric surgery, he worked a few years for the consulting company McKinsey&Co, before starting a career in the life-science/bio-pharmaceutical industry. Dominik Höchli has 20 years of experience in commercial and R&D leadership roles, including the medical oversight of the hematology-oncology portfolio during the last decade. He led global product launches for major blockbuster products, including Venetoclax, and has executive experience, most recently as VP, Head of Global Medical Affairs at Abbvie.

Dominik Höchli has a medical degree (MD) from the University of Bern. After residencies in adult and pediatric surgery, he …

Wiebe Olijve (PhD)

Scientific Advisor

Wiebe Olijve is an experienced research leader who has developed a range of biotech applications throughout his career.

Until recently he was the CEO and co-founder of BioNovion (now Aduro Biotech Europe). Before that, he was vice president of Schering-Plough Biopharma (now Merck Research Laboratories). He also founded the Organon Research Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where antibodies against oncological and auto-immune diseases were developed. During this time, Dr Olijve led the project that discovered pembrolizumab (Keytruda) – a humanized antibody used in cancer immunotherapy. He also spent many years leading pioneering research programs at Organon, using genomic and bioinformatics approaches to identify therapeutic targets. These endeavors advanced research in the Netherlands and the United States. Dr Olijve has been a professor of Applied Biology at Radboud University in Nijmegen since 1990.

Wiebe Olijve is an experienced research leader who has developed a range of biotech applications throughout his career… Read more

Carlos Cuesta-Mateos (PhD)

Head of Preclinical Research

Carlos Cuesta-Mateos is a senior scientist with over 15 years of experience in onco-hematology and onco-immunology.

He has an MSc in biology from the Complutentese University of Madrid, a PhD in immunology from the Autónoma University of Madrid, and trained as a clinical immunologist at La Princesa Hospital Madrid. Dr Cuesta-Mateos has worked in leadership positions at immunology laboratories in several clinical centers and as an associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the Medicine Faculty of the European University of Madrid. Currently he leads the target discovery/validation section and the flow cytometry platform.

Carlos Cuesta-Mateos is a senior scientist with over 15 years of experience in onco-hematology and onco-immunology… Read more

Fernando Terrón (MD, MBA)

Chairman of the Board

Fernando Terrón is a biotech entrepreneur, with almost 20 years’ entrepreneurial experience, and has been with Catapult since its inception.

He has also founded three other biotech companies: Biolty (a life sciences consultancy), Immed (oncology target discovery), and ProRetina Therapeutics (gene therapy in ophthalmology), and is a board member of Biotools (manufacturer of molecular biology reagents), and Imegen (genetic diagnostics in cancer and rare diseases). He has an MD from the University of Navarra in Spain and an MBA from Duke University in the USA.

Fernando Terrón is a biotech entrepreneur, with almost 20 years’ entrepreneurial experience, and has been with Catapult since its inception… Read more

Bert Jan Haijema (PhD)

Project Manager CMC

Bert Jan Haijema has over 15 years of experience as a senior biotech expert with an emphasis on CMC and preclinical related activities in the field of therapeutic antibodies and vaccines. He has been responsible for bringing several products from early R&D to the clinic. His work has focused on CMC, bioprocess development & transfer, GMP manufacturing and regulatory affairs amongst others. Currently he coordinates Catapult’s CMC activities.

Bert Jan Haijema has over 15 years of experience as a senior biotech expert with an emphasis on CMC and …

Gerda van Tol

Clinical Trial Operations Manager

Gerda van Tol is an experienced senior clinical trial manager with over 25 years of experience. She is knowledgeable in several therapeutic areas with a special focus on oncology, immunotherapy and hematology. She has a degree in Life Sciences and has managed global clinical trials for several large pharmaceutical companies. Currently Gerda is responsible for the management of Catapult’s Phase I clinical trial.

Gerda van Tol is an experienced senior clinical trial manager with over 25 years of experience. She is knowledgeable in …

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Correspondence address:

Catapult Therapeutics B.V.
Zuidersluisweg 2,
8243 RC Lelystad, The Netherlands

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Catapult Therapeutics B.V.
Onderwijsboulevards 225,
5223 DE Den Bosch, The Netherlands

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