Projects 2020-06-18T09:01:27+00:00

Recepton is a newly founded biotech company focused on cancer immunotherapy, the process of mobilizing the immune system to kill cancer.

In particular, we have designed:

  • a novel service platform composed of a broad portfolio of the recombinant immune checkpoint receptors. The platform can be used for rapid typing and testing of new types of inhibitors for the immunoreceptors, especially for the signaling pathway of the programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) and its ligand, protein PD-L1.
  • protein engineering platform for the development of multifunctional therapeutic fusion proteins
  • chemistry synthetic and biophysical methods of rational drug design, cell-based assays, preclinical studies that aim at developing new types of small-molecule inhibitors for the immune checkpoint blockade (ICB).

Recepton is continuously building a team of energetic people with scientific passion, who will work on development of innovative solutions in the field of cancer immunotherapy.

Recepton is divided into specialized scientific laboratories:

Protein Engineering Laboratory (Gdańsk)

  • Molecular biology
  • Cell line development
  • Protein production
  • Protein purification
  • Protein analytics
  • Cell based assays

Drug Discovery Laboratory (Kraków)

  • In silico modelling
  • Organic Chemistry
  • HT drug screening methods
  • NMR

Dr Tomasz Sitar
CEO, Head of Protein Engineering Laboratory

Co-founder of Recepton, Doctor in Natural Sciences at the Technische Universität Muenchen, Germany, under the academic supervision of Professor Robert Huber, the Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry. Dr Sitar has over 17 years of research and development experience in both academic and pharma/biotech organisations. Tomasz Sitar worked in the NMR Spectroscopy group of Prof. Tad Holak at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry between 2003 and 2011. Prior to Recepton, since 2012 he served as the R&D Senior Scientist, Cell Line Development Expert and Bioprocess Development Key Expert in Polpharma Biologics, Gdansk, Poland. Currently, Tomasz Sitar holds positions of Chief Executive Officer and Head of Protein Engineering in Recepton Sp. z o.o.

Prof. Dr. Tad Holak
CSO, Head of Drug Discovery Laboratory

Co-founder of Recepton, professor in biochemistry, a world-recognized scientist involved in biochemical research for 40 years, leading international teams of experts (including 4 years at Yale University, USA, and 25 years at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Martinsried, Germany). Results of his teams’ work were implemented in business, leading to significant progress in science and social welfare improvement by increased efficiency of diseases’ treatment. Between 1988 and 2011 Professor Holak was the leader of a research group at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry having about 20 R&D projects under his direction. Prior to Recepton, in 2012-2017, he has been the head of the Chemical Biology and Drug Design group at the Chemistry Faculty and at the Małopolska Biotechnology Centre of the Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland. At that time, he has successfully conducted number of projects financed by the National Science Centre of Poland, the Foundation for Polish Science and EU funds.

  • Small-molecule inhibitors and modulators of immune checkpoint receptors

Modulation or/and inhibition of the immune checkpoints receptors have become the subject of growing interest for new therapies in immuno-oncology. Immune check point receptors expressed by immune cells can have either inhibitory or stimulatory functions.

Two strategies for immunotherapy have been investigated:

  • Inhibition of immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) to restore T cell activity,
  • Activation of stimulatory checkpoints to stimulate T cell activity.

Assessing the effect of drug candidates, such as small molecules or biologics, on the immune checkpoint interactions is now a major challenge for research and drug discovery.

  • Multifunctional fusion proteins for cancer immunotherapy

Modulation of immune system by simultaneous blocking and activation of signaling pathways can lead to the synergistic effect in cancer immunotherapy. Recepton is developing a technology platform for generation of biological drugs targeting inhibitory and stimulatory pathways of the immune system. The drug development platform includes:

  • Rational design of multifunctional fusion proteins
  • Generation of genetic constructs
  • CHO cell line construction
  • Bioprocess development
  • Protein purification
  • Protein characterisation
  • Cell based assays
  • Studies in animal models

Figure 1. Immnune checkpoint receptors and their ligands.

Signaling pathways that modulate T-cell functions

Ligands Receptors Role
B7 receptor family
PD-L1 (B7-H1, CD274) PD-1 (CD279) Inhibition
CD80 (B7-1) Inhibition
PD-L2 (B7-DC, CD273) PD-1 (CD279) Inhibition
ICOSL (B7-H2, CD275) ICOS (CD278) Activation
CD28 Activation
CD276 (B7-H3) Unknown receptor Inhibition
VTCN1 (B7-H4) Unknown receptor Inhibition
VISTA (B7-H5) Unknown receptor Inhibition
HHLA2 (B7-H7) TMIGD2 (CD28H) Activation
CD80 (B7-1) CD28 Activation
CTLA-4 Inhibition
B7-H1 Inhibition
CD86 (B7-2) CD28 Activation
CTLA-4 Inhibition
lg superfamily
MHC-II LAG-3 (CD223) Inhibition
Gal-9 TIM-3 Inhibition
PVR (CD155) TIGIT Inhibition
HVEM (CD270) BTLA (CD272) Inhibition
CD160 Inhibition
LIGHT Activation
TNF receptor family
OX40L (CD252) OX40 (CD134) Activation
GITRL GITR (CD357) Activation
4-1BBL 4-1BB (CD137) Activation
CD70 CD27 Activation
CD40L (CD154) CD40 Activation
  • Combination therapy

Combination therapies are the key drivers of successful treatment of cancer patients in cancer immunotherapy. Recepton intends to drive the discovery and development of the next generation molecules for combination treatments in immuno-oncology with:

  • A broad spectra of immuno-oncology drug candidates
  • A broad portfolio of active immune receptors and cell lines for research applications in drug discovery

A set of discovery technologies

  • Cancer Immunotherapy

Project number: POIR.01.01.01-00-0129/18

Title: „Technology platform designed for the development and study of therapeutics used in cancer immunotherapy. Development of small molecules for the immune checkpoint blockade in combination cancer immunotherapies”.

Programme:  Measure 1.1 – „R&D projects of enterprises”,  Sub‑measure 1.1.1 – “Industrial research and development carried out by enterprises” of the Smart Growth Operational Programme 2014–2020 co-financed by the European Union from the European Regional Development Fund.

Project value [PLN]: 12 461 236.71

Contribution of EU Funds [PLN]: 9 404 996.12

Keywords: cancer, cancer immunotherapy, immune checkpoint receptors, PD-1, PD-L1, inhibitors, modulators