About us

Catapult Therapeutics is a privately held Dutch biotech company developing CAP-100 – an innovative first-in-class humanized anti-CCR7 antibody.

The chemokine receptor CCR7 is over-expressed in many cancers, and high CCR7 expression is associated with poor prognosis and short survival in hematological and solid malignancies. Preclinical studies have shown that the anti-CCR7 antibody can prolong survival and inhibit cancer cell migration in multiple animal models of B-cell and T-cell lymphomas.

CAP-100 has a uniquely differentiated mechanism of action, which is complementary to current standard of care treatments for hematological malignancies. Thus, CAP-100 is a potential monotherapy and can be used in combination with current standard treatments.

CAP-100 has completed preclinical development, with IND filing in December 2020.

Catapult Therapeutics was established in 2015 as a 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 target:

CCR7

Chemokines are proteins that orchestrate cell trafficking into and from lymphoid organs and tissues in homeostatic and pathological conditions. The chemokine receptor CCR7 is essential for trafficking of cells to lymph nodes, where its ligands CCL19 and CCL21 are expressed.

In cancer, tumor cells may hijack the chemokine pathway by expressing chemokine receptors, allowing them to migrate to distant sites. CCR7 is over-expressed in many hematological malignancies, including chronic lymphocytic leukemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. 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.

CCR7 drives migration of tumor cells to the lymph node. In this protective microenvironment, CCR7 ligands promote tumor cell survival and proliferation. CCR7-mediated migration of chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells correlates positively with clinical lymphadenopathy and adverse prognostic factors.

Thus, strategies targeting CCR7 provide a novel therapeutic approach for CCR7-positive hematological malignancies, such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

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. Catapult has chosen to follow an antibody approach because it provides:

  • Fab-mediated inhibition of migration to the lymph node and tumor microenvironment
  • Fc-mediated tumor cell killing
  • High selectivity (no off-target toxicity).

The product:

CAP-100

CAP-100 is a first-in-class humanized IgG1 monoclonal antibody that specifically binds to human CCR7 and neutralizes ligand-mediated signaling through both CCL19 and CCL21. Preclinical studies have demonstrated CAP-100’s unique ability to effectively block migration of tumor cells to lymph nodes, induce tumor cell killing (antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity), and inhibit tumor cell survival in the lymph node.

The CAP-100 antibody has effectively inhibited migration and survival of primary tumor cells from patients with human chronic lymphocytic leukemia or non-Hodgkin lymphoma tumors. Furthermore, preclinical studies in animal models have shown that CAP-100 inhibits entry of CCR7-expressing cells into the lymph nodes. CAP-100 also killed chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells while preserving normal blood cells. This Fc-mediated antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) clearly outperformed the standard of care rituximab, which targets CD20.

The anti-tumor effects of CAP-100 (ADCC and migration inhibition) were both independent of prognostic markers for high-risk disease, such as a TP53 mutation, 17p deletion, and resistance to various standard therapies. Finally, CAP-100 monotherapy inhibited tumor growth in disseminated non-Hodgkin lymphoma xenograft tumors, and significantly improved survival in multiple animal models of B-cell lymphomas.

Blocking tumor cell migration to the lymph nodes together with potent tumor cell killing is a unique mechanisms of action, which is complementary to current standard treatments for hematological malignancies. This means that CAP-100 can not only be used as a monotherapy, but also in combination with current standards of care for chronic lymphocytic leukemia and B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Catapult is developing its first-in-class human anti-CCR7 antibody, CAP-100, to treat CCR7-positive hematological malignancies. We will treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia with the CAP-100 antibody as the first clinical proof of concept. CAP-100 may also be an effective treatment for other CCR7-expressing B- and T-cell leukemias and lymphomas.

CAP-100 is has completed preclinical development, with IND filing in December 2020.

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 …

Contact us

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Correspondence address:

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

Visiting address:

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

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