Bioniz leverages its world class expertise in cytokine biology, originating in research conducted at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to develop a novel approach to selectively inhibit functionally redundant cytokines by blocking their unique binding interface with their shared receptor. Through our platform, we have identified a number of product candidates that address immuno-inflammatory diseases and cancer.
Bioniz Therapeutics leverages its proprietary platform technology to develop novel peptides that target functionally redundant cytokines with targeted specificity. While the technology is applicable for a variety of cytokine families, our initial focus is on the IL-2 [also known as the gamma-c (gc)] family of cytokines, which consists of IL-2, IL-4, IL-7, IL-9, IL-15, & IL-21.
Each cytokine in this family has a unique receptor complex which consists of the common “gc-chain” as well as a “private chain” specific to that cytokine. The formation of a complete receptor complex is required for fully functional cytokine signaling. As the first step, the free cytokine binds to its private receptor. This binding positions the cytokine in a proper conformational position to reach to the critical binding site of the common receptor, which triggers a downstream signaling cascade. Bionz’s BNZ-1 peptide binds to the common receptor (gamma) and blocks the binding interface of some of the gc cytokines, but not all of them. For example, BNZ-1 selectively inhibits IL-2, IL-9, and IL-15, but not IL-4, IL-7, and IL-21. This is accomplished in the design of BNZ, which inhibits the assembly of the full receptor complexes for those cytokines it targets while not interfering with the assembly of the complexes for those it does not inhibit.