Committed to transforming
the treatment of severe, chronic
autoimmune diseases.

Committed to transforming
the treatment of severe, chronic
autoimmune diseases.

Careers

Careers


Come work with us

At Imcyse we are passionate about changing the way serious immune diseases are treated. At the heart of everything we do is our mission:

pioneering an approach that could prevent, treat and potentially cure some of the most challenging diseases in one of the most underserved areas of modern medicine. Achieving this goal starts with our employees and consultants, because we know that we perform at our best when we work together. If you are committed and ardent about immunotherapy and want to pursue a career with the potential to change people’s lives, Imcyse is the place for you.

At Imcyse, you will find people from a wide range of backgrounds, from scientists to office support, coming together to do their part in making our shared goal a reality. Home to the Imcyse family are our purpose built premises, located in the Walloon Region of Belgium, one of the leading centers for talent and R&D within Europe.

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Meet the faces behind Imcyse & learn more about our Teams and what they do:

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See for yourself what life at Imcyse is like

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Business development

Business Development


Program expansion through internal and partnered development

At Imcyse, we aim to expand the number of programs based on our platform both through in-house development and through strategic partnerships.

Advancing novel therapies together – everyday

For indications where a strategic partner will maximize the pace of development, Imcyse seeks to build strategic alliances with pharmaceutical companies that will bring their specialist knowledge and expertise in both optimizing the development of the product and knowledge in the marketplace around the globe.

Together with our partner Pfizer, for example, Imcyse is developing a novel Rheumatoid Arthritis treatment. Following a successful exploratory research collaboration, Imcyse and Pfizer are in a partnership to develop existing lead candidates and discover and optimize potential molecules after which Pfizer will lead clinical development and commercialization activities.

View our Pipeline to learn more about our PRE-CLINICAL AND CLINICAL PROGRAMS

Broad potential beyond autoimmune diseases

The Imotope™ platform is highly adaptable and can be modified for use in a variety of diseases such as severe allergies and anti-drug antibody immunogenicity. With this potential to address indications beyond autoimmune diseases, we are in the search of new partners for a number of therapeutic areas as well as certain orphan indications.

START A CONVERSATION WITH US ON FURTHER PARTNERING OPPORTUNITIES

Building on long lasting partnerships

To leverage the potential of our unique technology, Imcyse is also entering private, public and academic partnerships. In March 2020, Imcyse became a proud member of INNODIA, a global network of academic institutions, industrial partners, patient organizations and a small-sized enterprise bringing together their knowledge and experience to fight type 1 diabetes (T1D), Imcyse’s lead indication. This private-public partnership offers Imcyse greater access to T1D patients as well as to a platform of scientific exchange and technical approaches that will help the Company as it further refines treatment with ImotopesTM for patients with early T1D.

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Pipeline

Pipeline


Robust pipeline in severe autoimmune diseases with potential to address a wide range of diseases

Imcyse is initially applying its ImotopeTM technology for the treatment of severe, chronic autoimmune diseases where no therapeutic cures are available and existing therapies manage disease symptoms often with frequent and severe side effects. However, the ImotopeTM platform is highly adaptable and can be modified for use in a variety of diseases beyond autoimmune diseases.

The Company’s robust pipeline currently comprises clinical-stage programs in Type 1 diabetes and Multiple sclerosis as well as pre-clinical programs in Neuromyelitis optica, Celiac disease and Rheumatoid arthritis.

Other early-stage, pre-clinical programs include proof-of-concept studies in allergies, graft vs. host rejection, and Myasthenia gravis, as well as in the prevention of immunogenicity in gene therapies using AAV vectors. The ImotopeTM platform also has the potential to address a wide range of immunologic diseases.

  • IMOTOPE™ DESIGN
  • LEAD SELECTION
  • PRECLINICAL
  • Ph1

  • Ph2


  • Type 1 diabetes (IMCY-0098)

    UNMET NEED
    In Type 1 diabetes (T1D), the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas are destroyed through an autoimmune attack. The loss of beta cells leads to insulin insufficiency and hyperglycemia, with patients eventually requiring lifelong insulin therapy to maintain normal glycemic control.

    For the majority of the approximately 9 million juveniles and adults affected worldwide, living with T1D means burdensome round-the-clock self-management including a strict diet, frequent monitoring of blood glucose levels along with lifelong daily insulin injections. But even with modern technologies, controlling blood glucose levels to a level that will eliminate immediate risks, such as hyperglycaemia or hypoglycaemia and serious long-term complications such as organ damage caused by high-blood sugar remains unachievable for most patients.

    Despite its global impact and improvements in disease management, there is still no cure for T1D, leaving an urgent need for new advances that can reduce the number or replace daily insulin injections and obtain better overall control.

    ABOUT
    IMCY-0098, a synthetic peptide based on insulin (one of the proteins to which the body begins to mount an aberrant immune response) is designed to halt the progression of diabetes by stopping the body’s immune system from attacking beta cells. With early intervention, the pancreas’ ability to produce insulin may be preserved, enabling patients to manage the disease with minimal insulin injections and hopefully in some cases without the need for insulin at all.

    In a Phase 1b study with 41 newly diagnosed patients, IMCY-0098, was found to be safe and well tolerated, with steady levels of C-peptides detected in some T1D patients up to 6 months following treatment, providing an encouraging signal for the Imotope™ platform. The T1D program was conducted by a European consortium (EXALT) and supported by a European grant of the 7th framework program. Results of the Phase 1b clinical trial were presented at the 55th Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in September 2019.

    STATUS
    IMCY-0098 is currently being investigated in a Phase 2 multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, dose comparison study in patients with recent onset T1D. The IMCY-0098 Proof of Action in Type 1 Diabetes (IMPACT) clinical trial, conducted in collaboration with INNODIA, the largest European T1D network, is evaluating the preservation of beta cell function in patients treated with IMCY-0098.

    The study completed recruitment in March 2023 exceeding its recruitment target, with a total of 110 patients enrolled and randomized across 28 clinical sites in Europe, the United States and Australia. Efficacy proof-of-concept data from IMPACT is expected in Q1 2024.

    Positive biomarker data, reported in January 2022, from a planned interim analysis conducted by Professor Tim Tree, Ph.D, Department of Immunobiology, King’s College London showed that IMCY-0098 treatment induces an insulin-specific cytolytic CD4+ immune signature, concomitant with prevention of the expansion of insulin-specific pathogenic Th17 T-cells. A promising preliminary result adding to the growing body of evidence supporting the ImotopeTM platform.

    The IMPACT clinical trial is supported by the Walloon Region of Belgium under the grant agreement N 8234.

    To learn more about T1D and the IMPACT trial visit: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04524949, INNODIA and  T1D UK Consortium.

  • Multiple sclerosis (IMCY-0141)

    UNMET NEED
    More than three million people globally have been diagnosed with Multiple sclerosis (MS). In MS, the immune system induces damage to the proteins protecting the nerves, also called nerve sheath demyelination, which exposes the underlying nerves and can lead to paralysis. Symptoms include muscle weakness, weak reflexes, tremors, and muscle spasms.

    There is no cure for MS, and treatments typically focus on speeding recovery from attacks, slowing disease progression and managing symptoms. Although current medications are effective in reducing the frequency of disease relapse, they are also associated with significant side effects and compliance challenges, leaving a major need for new treatments with a more favorable safety profile that can slow or even stop disease progression. 

    ABOUT
    IMCY-0141 is a synthetic peptide based on MOG (Myelin Oligodendrocyte Glycoprotein), a dominant autoantigen, designed to stop the progression of MS and the destruction of the myelin sheath protecting the nerves.

    IMCY-0141 has shown promising results in several MS pre-clinical models, demonstrating an immune response that supports the proposed mode of action. Notably, in those models, ImotopesTM also demonstrated induction of a memory response so that the treatment effect was long-lasting after a limited number of administrations.

    STATUS
    IMCY-0141 is currently being evaluated in a Phase 1/2 clinical trial in adult patients with relapsing-remitting MS. The Phase 1 open-label, dose escalation part of the study will evaluate the safety of three IMCY-0141 dose levels. The Phase 2 expansion arm of the trial will be double-blind and randomized with an adaptive design and will assess immune responses while evaluating the impact on the accumulation of new MRI lesions and following up other disease markers activity. In addition, the Phase 2 part will allow for dose optimization in preparation for registration studies. 

    To learn more about MS and the ongoing clinical trial visit: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT05417269

  • Neuromyelitis optica

    UNMET NEED
    Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) includes rare, inflammatory autoimmune diseases involving the central nervous system. As a result of severe inflammation or disease relapses, optic nerves and spinal cord can become injured, resulting in significant loss of mobility, vision or other functions. The average age of onset is 40 and if left uncontrolled NMOSD has the potential to cause devastating consequences such as blindness and can be life-threatening.

    NMOSD includes a range of distinctive but rare autoimmune diseases, however, NMO typically refers to patients who have a detectable autoantibody to aquaporin-4 (AQP4). These patients represent about 70% of all NMOSD patients.

    While just a few years ago there were no approved therapies for NMO patients, over the last few years 3 new therapies providing protection against relapses have been approved and are available to patients. However, these therapies do not cure the disease and are accompanied by significant side-effects, leaving a major unmet need to be tackled.

    ABOUT
    IMCY-0685 is designed to halt the progression of NMO by stopping the body’s immune system from attacking the central nervous system.

    STATUS
    With the support of the expertise of The Guthy-Jackson Charitable Foundation, Imcyse is currently preparing the first clinical trial to test this NMO specific Imotope™, with a submission to regulatory authorities anticipated for Q4 2023.

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

    UNMET NEED

    Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common type of autoimmune arthritis affecting more than 25 million people. It is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects primarily the joints manifesting as pain, stiffness and synovitis which leads to progressive joint destruction. Many factors can contribute to the development of RA including genetic, and environmental factors which affect the innate and adaptive immune system. Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and antibodies may be used to try to slow the progression of disease but are associated with significant side effects and are not curative. New safer and more effective treatments are eagerly awaited.

    STATUS

    In partnership with Pfizer, we are developing novel Imotopes to address this disease.

  • Celiac disease

    UNMET NEED

    Celiac Disease (CD) is a chronic autoimmune-like disorder, affecting the small intestine, featuring duodenal villous atrophy triggered by gluten ingestion present in foods such as wheat, rye and barley.  Symptoms include gastrointestinal problems such as chronic diarrhoea, abdominal distention, and poor absorption of nutrients. Affecting on average 1% of the population, the management of CD requires lifelong adherence to a strict gluten-free diet (GFD). However, managing such a restrictive diet is challenging, and treatment burden can be high. Currently, there is nothing that truly blocks the effects of the disease and therefore there is a need for better treatments.

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Technology

Technology


ImotopesTM: Next Generation
Immunotherapeutics

ImotopesTM are a next generation immunotherapy that have the potential to address a wide range of diseases in the field of immunology. Our current focus is to find new therapies for patients suffering from severe, chronic autoimmune diseases where our pioneering approach could prevent, treat and potentially cure some of the most challenging and underserved conditions.

 

The ImotopeTM Technology

The challenge of current therapies

Autoimmune diseases occur when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s cells and tissues. Few therapies address the underlying causes of the disease and those that do often cause a generalized immune suppression, to the point that the immune system cannot mount a proper response leading to severe side effects such as the inability to fight infection or control cancers. The side effects from some treatments are so severe that many patients stop treatment even if they are somewhat effective.

Existing therapies can also require daily medication or periodic hospital infusions.

Most other drugs simply alleviate the symptoms or temporarily halt the immune attack.

For all autoimmune disorders there are no cures and innovation is needed. 

Imotopes™ are simple peptide molecules, injected sub cutaneously, which stimulate an immune response that blocks the autoimmune pathways. They have the potential to have long lasting effects that stop the progression of the disease.

Current therapies are generally:

  • Steroids

    STEROID

  • Antibodies

    ANTIBODIES
    F.e. against anti CD19 or CD20 positive cells or certain immune modulators such as anti TNF antibodies

  • Proteins

    PEPTIDES,
    PROTEINS & SMALL MOLECULES

  • Therapies

    CELL BASED THERAPIES

ImotopesTM – a new solution

Autoantigens are natural proteins that are immunogenic when normal tolerance is broken (where the body’s immune system sees them as “foreign” and begins to mount an immune response).

Imotopes™ are short peptides that simulate an immune response to rebalance the aberrant autoimmune response. We take a sequence from the autoantigen called epitope (the light blue) and construct our peptide from that core. Importantly we add a sequence from the thioredoxin enzyme (the red) to give this peptide its biological effect.

When ImotopesTM are injected, they stimulate a new class of immune cells, called cytolytic CD4+ cells that specifically targets the disease pathway and knocks out a key cells in the autoimmune cascade. Importantly, these cytolytic T cells do not affect the rest of the immune system which continues to function. By interrupting the autoimmune cascade, Imotopes™ prevents further tissue damage and halts disease progression.

Imotopes™ also induce memory cytolytic CD4+ T cells, which provide long-lasting treatment effects with infrequent dosing, like a vaccine.

Broad applicability

In addition to autoimmune diseases, Imcyse’s technology has potential in allergy, cancer and other diseases.

The technology could also be applied as an “add-on” therapy to other drugs or biologics to prevent the progression of immunogenicity and loss of efficacy with chronic administration - such as with monoclonal antibodies or replacement enzymes. Furthermore, it may eliminate the immune response against the viral vectors that are used in gene therapies.

A closer look at the development of autoimmune diseases and how ImotopesTM tackle the key players in the immune cascade for a specific, safe and long lasting therapy.

The underlying immune mechanisms in the development of autoimmune diseases

Autoimmune disorders (AIDs) occur when the immune system mounts an attack to self-proteins and initiates an immune cascade that ultimately attacks the body’s own tissues and organs.

In healthy individuals, unwanted immune responses to self-proteins are kept in check, which is called tolerance. When tolerance is broken for a specific self-protein, it is able to stimulate an immune response and, are then called autoantigen. Like all proteins, these autoantigens are routinely taken up by antigen-presenting cells (APCs) but only when tolerance is broken, they ultimately activate disease causing autoreactive T cells, also called pathogenic T cells, a key first step in the inception of autoimmune disease.

On the surface of APCs MHCII molecules present protein fragments, also called epitopes, to T cells. A given autoantigen has many different epitopes which are presented on MHCII molecules. The MHCII molecules and the genes encoding them are highly variable between individuals and are the strongest genetic risk factor to develop a certain autoimmune disease, demonstrating the critical role of these MHCII molecules and the epitopes they present to T-cells in the development of autoimmune diseases. For example, Type-1 diabetes is associated with MHCII molecules DR3 and DR4 that can present preproinsulin-derived epitopes reported to play a role in this autoimmune disease.

APCs begin the disease cascade by processing and presenting autoantigen epitopes to T cells. The peptide-MHCII complex binds with the T cell receptor (TCR) on the CD4+ T cell and forms the immune synapse. In patients with autoimmune conditions this presentation of the body’s own protein epitopes stimulate the T cell and causes it to proliferate and differentiate into a pathogenic T cell phenotype. These pathogenic T cells in turn stimulate different pathways inducing inflammation and damage through a variety of mechanisms (using antibodies/ B cells and CD8+ T cells as well as CD4+ T cell pathways).

Antigen presentation by APCs is not only critical in generating pathogenic cells in the first place, it is also key in restimulating existing pathogenic T cells further driving/progressing the pathology (extends their life span). Without constant antigen presentation, T cells will simply wane in their activity and fade into a death spiral.

ImotopeTM technology: tackling the key players in the immune cascade by re-deploying a natural response to treat autoimmune diseases

Imcyse’s Imotope approach aims to break this aberrant immune cascade and reset the immune system by using these disease causing epitopes. This is made possible through the Imotope’s unique design which targets specific MHCII haplotypes.

The first step in designing the ImotopeTM is to examine the proteins that have become autoantigens and the epitopes that cause the disease. Once the epitope that we wish to use has been identified, it is then modified by adding a sequence from an enzyme called Thioredoxin (which we call a “thioredox” sequence or motif). The addition of the thioredox motif gives the peptide, now called an ImotopeTM, the power to drive T cells into a different phenotype, called a cytolytic CD4+ T cell. Cytolytic CD4+ T cells have previously been reported during viral infections and are shown to kill virus-infected APCs. We are re-deploying this mechanisms for the treatment of AIDs.

As the Imotope™ has the autoantigen’s epitope at its core, the cytolytic T cells that are generated are epitope specific. For example, we chose an epitope from pro-insulin as the core of our Type 1 diabetes Imotope™ which when injected generates insulin specific cytolytic T cells. This makes the response to the treatment very targeted and allows for a treatment that is both safe and effective.

Once the body has primed a new army of disease autoantigen epitope specific cytolytic CD4+ T cells, they circulate around the body. If they encounter another APC presenting anything other than the autoantigen epitope from which they were primed, no T cell activation occurs. However, when these cells encounter an APC presenting the autoantigen epitope, they get activated and induce apoptosis in that APC. This removes a critical step in the disease pathway and prevents the body from generating new pathogenic T cells, effectively stopping the disease. By only inducing apoptosis in APCs that are involved in the disease pathway, our treatment does not have a negative impact on the general immune system.

Not only does an Imotope™ induce a cytolytic CD4+ T cell soon after treatment, it also induces a memory phenotype, like vaccines do. Memory cytolytic CD4+ T cells are long lived and are able to continue to counter the aberrant immune response for long periods of time. This means that an Imotope™ course of therapy will have a very long duration of action/efficacy, which has been observed in our pre-clinical experiments so far, and could even lead to disease remission or cure.

In addition to inducing apoptosis in the APC, we also observe that cytolytic CD4+ T cells can induce apoptosis of the pathogenic T cells, as they are interacting with the same APCs. This is a second and equally important component of the therapeutic efficacy of Imotopes™ as they eliminate pathogenic T cells further contributing to potential remission or cure.

Bystander Effect

Most autoimmune diseases have several self-proteins which have the potential to become immunogenic (autoantigens), sometimes increasing in number as the disease progresses and the immune dysregulation rages more and more out of control. As APCs at the site of tissue damage will be processing many of the proteins found in the local environment, we have confirmed it is likely that one APC will be presenting several autoantigens at any one time and the pathogenic T cells primed from a number of related autoantigens and epitopes will all be interacting with a single APC. We have observed that a cytolytic CD4+ T cell primed with one epitope can in these circumstances induce apoptosis in related pathogenic T cells which enables the Imotope™ to block a wider range pathogenic T cells, maximizing the therapeutic benefit.

In summary, the ImotopesTM are able to block the abnormal immune responses and recalibrate the immune system, breaking the disease pathway responsible for tissue damage. ImotopeTM-induced cytolytic T cells specifically eliminate antigen-presenting cells and pathogenic T cells, thereby avoiding autoimmune attacks without affecting other functions of the immune system.

Further resources

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Start

Transforming the treatment
of severe autoimmune diseases

Imcyse is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company committed to advancing the development of a new class of specific immunotherapies. Focused on severe autoimmune diseases, the Company’s unique ImotopeTM platform has the potential to make a meaningful impact on a wide range of indications in the field of autoimmunity, as well as other diseases where immune system control breaks down.

about us

Technology

Our technology platform produces synthetic peptides, that are based on naturally occurring proteins  - ImotopesTM - the next generation of targeted immunotherapeutics using the patient’s own immune system to break the abnormal immune responses thereby recalibrating the immune system.

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Pipeline

The ImotopeTM platform has the potential to address a wide range of immunologic diseases. Our robust pipeline consists of two clinical and three pre-clinical programs, initially targeting Type 1 Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Neuromyelitis Optica and Celiac Disease.

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Business development

To drive the development and commercialization of our wide range of clinical and pre-clinical programs we are focused on advancing assets both in-house and through strategic partnerships.

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Partners & Investors

Imcyse is supported by academic collaborations, private public partnerships, industry partners and a diverse set of investors.

These include grants and subsidies from the Wallonia Region and European Union: Financement pour l’aménagement des bureaux et des laboratoires.  Le Fonds européen de développement régional et la Wallonie investissent dans votre avenir.  https://europe.wallonie.be/

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