New uses of IDO inhibitors: enhance molecular targeted cancer drug therapy

Lead investigator: Alexander Muller, PhD
Collaborators: Souvik Dey, PhD, and George Prendergast, PhD

Unmet need

The current trend in cancer therapy is the addition of immunomodulators that leverage immune attacks in the context of traditional standards of care. Emerging results suggest that many molecular targeted therapies developed as precision medicines for cancer indirectly exert immunostimulatory effects. Thus, there is a need for drug adjuvants to leverage the immunomodulatory effects of targeted drugs where IDO inhibitors are well-positioned.


LIMR’s technology illuminates the use of IDO/TDO inhibitors in new types of combination cancer therapy that were not previously rationalized. As such, it offers a mechanism to broaden uses and markets for companies developing IDO/TDO inhibitors for cancer treatment.

The large global market for cancer drugs is expected to increase from $85B in 2016 to $155.6B by 2025, according to the research and consulting firm Transparency Market Research.

Unique attributes

In their pioneering studies of IDO enzymes in tumoral immune escape, LIMR scientists discovered that the IDO enzyme also contributes to tumor cell survival beyond immunomodulation. Accordingly, they illuminated new uses for IDO1 inhibitors to enhance the antitumor efficacy of hypoxia/metabolic stress-inducing drugs in cancer and other diseases. These new uses broaden the number of therapeutic combinations and applications for IDO inhibitors that would not otherwise be obvious.

Clinical applications

IDO inhibitors offer broad interest for cancer treatment, with preclinical and emerging clinical evidence that they can safely enhance the efficacy of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, radio-chemotherapy and immunotherapy. The technology expands the potential clinical scope of use for this drug class. As such, the technology could enable companies to expand markets for their IDO inhibitors with other owned modalities.

Stage of development

Preclinical proof of concept for this drug class in combination with RAS/RAF, PI3K/mTOR and hypoxia-inducing targeted therapeutics.

Intellectual property

New uses of IDO inhibitors in combination drug therapy: PCT patent application.

Collaboration opportunity

Combination drug studies using IDO inhibitors to safely enhance the efficacy of cancer cell-targeted therapeutics, including RAS/RAF pathway inhibitors, PI3K/mTOR pathway inhibitors and hypoxia-inducing agents.

Relevant publications

Mondal A, Smith C, DuHadaway JB, Sutanto-Ward E, Prendergast GC, Bravo-Nuevo A and Muller AJ. (2016). IDO1 is an integral mediator of inflammatory neovascularization. EBioMed 14: 74-82.

Smith C, Chang MY, Parker KH, Beury DW, DuHadaway JB, Flick HE, Boulden J, Sutanto-Ward E, Soler AP, Laury-Kleintop LD, Mandik-Nayak L, Metz R, Ostrand-Rosenberg S, Prendergast GC and Muller AJ. (2012). IDO is a nodal pathogenic driver of lung cancer and metastasis development. Cancer Discov 2: 722-35.


Institutional contact: George C. Prendergast, PhD, LIMR President and CEO, 484.476.8475, [email protected]

IP manager contact: Heather Rose, PhD, JD, VP of Technology Licensing and Startups, Thomas Jefferson University, 215.503.0770, [email protected]