Our Science

Developing New Immunotherapies to Advance the Cancer Treatment Paradigm

VentiRx is a leader in the development of novel Toll-like Receptor 8 (TLR8) immunotherapies. Our treatments target key cells of the innate immune system to activate the body's natural ability to fight cancer.

In the last decade, clinical studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of using the immune system as a means of treating cancer. The regulatory approval of immunotherapy agents for the treatment of patients with solid tumors has changed the landscape of medical oncology, offering great promise for patients.

The human immune system is an integrated system of cells, receptors and cytokines designed to protect an individual from disease. Immune responses are generally classified as being innate or adaptive. Innate immune responses are triggered in part by the recognition of foreign proteins, called antigens, by active immune cells. The immune cells identify these foreign antigens by using pattern recognition receptors, such as the Toll-like receptors. This generates a non-specific response from the (innate) immune cells, characterized by the release of a number of cytokines such as growth factors, chemokines, interferons and interleukins. The release of these powerful compounds leads to further recruitment of active immune cells such as monocytes, dendritic cells and natural killer (NK) cells which propagate the immune response.

Adaptive immune responses are much more antigen-specific. The T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes are the major cells of the adaptive immune system, and each acts by very specific processes. The innate and adaptive immune systems are distinct, but work together in a coordinated fashion to defend against illness.

Toll-Like Receptors (TLRs)

TLRs are an important target for immunotherapy development because of their central role in inducing and modulating immune responses. Recognition by TLRs triggers the rapid, coordinated production of chemokines, cytokines and other inflammatory mediators that leads to the generation of cellular (adaptive) immune responses.

Motolimod (formerly VTX-2337)

VentiRx's lead investigational drug, motolimod, is a toll-like receptor 8 (TLR8) agonist designed to mobilize a patient's own immune system.

Motolimod Activates an Immune System Response


VentiRx's Motolimod Activates the Innate Immune Response

Motolimod stimulates a specific type of immune cell known as the myeloid-derived dendritic cell (mDC) by binding to the internal receptor, TLR8. This triggers the mDC to produce and release inflammatory mediators (cytokines and chemokines) that activate the innate immune response.



VentiRx's Motolimod Stimulates an Immune Response in the Tumor

Motolimod appears to work synergistically with certain types of chemotherapy to stimulate an immune response in the tumor. Motolimod also enhances the anti-tumor effect of monoclonal antibodies by stimulating natural killer (NK) cells and an immune process known as antibody dependent cellular toxicity (ADCC).



VentiRx's Motolimod Ignites an Immune Cascade that Enhances Tumor Cell Killing

The activation of myeloid dendritic cells by motolimod leads to an immune cascade that recruits other immune cells to the anti-tumor response. These cells include NK cells and T lymphocytes that enhance tumor cell killing.