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This image is advertising the February session of the Industry Insights Seminar Series. This seminar is with Bayer AG and is titled, Targeting the Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor (AHR) as a novel immunotherapy for the treatment of cancer. It will be presented by Dr Ilona Gutcher - Group Leader Oncology, Bayer AG.

February's IISS features Ilona Gutcher - Group Leader Oncology, Bayer AG.

Talk title: Targeting the Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor (AHR) as a novel immunotherapy for the treatment of cancer


Current approved cancer immunotherapy treatments focus on stimulating anti-tumor T cell responses with antibodies against PD1/PD-L1 and CTLA4. However, tumor cells can also evade immune responses by upregulating tryptophan-degrading enzymes like indole-2,3-dioxygenase (IDO1) and tryptophan-2,3-dioxygenase (TDO2) to generate the immunosuppressive metabolites kynurenine (KYN) and kynurenic acid (KA). KYN and KA bind and activate the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), which is expressed in many cell types and is well known for its broad immunosuppressive effects. Targeting the AhR with an inhibitor may therefore provide a novel immunotherapeutic approach for enhancing anti-tumoral immune responses and treating cancer.

Here we describe the discovery and functional characterization of the first-in-class small molecule AhR inhibitor BAY 2416964. BAY 2416964 is a novel, selective and potent inhibitor of AhR that inhibits nuclear translocation of AhR and its ensuing transcriptional activity. In vitro, BAY 2416964 stimulates the pro-inflammatory activity of human T cells and KA-suppressed monocytes. In vivo, BAY 2416964 treatment inhibits tumor growth in CT26 and B16-OVA syngeneic tumor models, the latter demonstrating increases in CD8+ T cells and NK cells, and decreases in suppressive myeloid cells, in the tumor microenvironment.

Based on promising pre-clinical data, a first-in-human phase I clinical trial was initiated in 2019 in patients with advanced solid malignancies to investigate the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics and preliminary anti-tumor activity of BAY 2416964 ( NCT04069026). Exploratory analyses include assessment of human PK; evaluation of target engagement; assessment of immune cell markers in the tumor microenvironment and profiling of an AhR gene signature. Dose escalation of BAY 2416964 is currently ongoing.

 To register for this event, click here.

 For more information on the Industry Insight Seminar Series, click here


These events are usually in person at the BioEscalator. However, due to Covid-19, these seminars will be given virtually.

Once back in person there will be limited in-person tickets for BioEscalator tenants, please contact Elodie Siney/reception if you would like to secure an in-person place.


Please contact either Sheena Lee or the BioEscalator if you have any questions.

If you have an industry partner you would like to invite to speak, please contact Sheena Lee.