Small molecule activates innate immune responses controlled by the human protein STING.

Case ID:
Web Published:


Stimulator of IFN genes (STING) is a signaling molecule that activates immune responses and STING-mediated phenotypes have been shown to enhance both vaccine-associated protection and immune-based antitumor therapies. Oregon Health & Science University researchers have developed a novel small molecule activating ligand of STING, which may overcome the chemical limitations of existing STING agonists currently in clinical trials for treatment of cancer. 


Technology Overview

STING displays wide ranging signaling functions within the immune system that are crucial for desirable clinical outcomes, making it a strong target for therapeutic development.  Specifically, STING functions to activate innate immune (especially type I interferon) responses, which can impair viral replication, and initiate adaptive immune processes including antibody and T cell-mediated activity against microbial pathogens and tumor cells. Currently, STING inducers in clinical trials are represented by cyclic dinucleotides, which are not cell permeable and are highly susceptible to degradation by extracellular enzymes.  The laboratory of Dr. Victor DeFilippis has developed a novel small molecule agonist of STING, which may overcome some of the chemical liabilities of current STING inducers, as a potential anti-cancer therapy.  Testing in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) taken from patients with pancreatic cancer found that treatment with the STING agonist induced several cytokines illustrative of the compound’s ability to induce innate responses necessary for adaptive immunity. Testing in healthy human PBMCs also found the agonist was capable of facilitating maturation of antigen presenting cells (APC) and increased in the frequency of antigen-specific CD8+ T cells, indicating its adjuvant properties. Given the breadth of STINGs immune functions, this novel compound has therapeutic potential to elicit broad-spectrum antiviral activity, promote anti-tumor immunity and enhance vaccine immunogenicity.



Abraham et al., Characterization of a novel Compound that Stimulates STING-Mediated Innate Immune Activity in an Allele-Specific Manner.” Frontiers in Immunology 11(2020): Article 1430.


Licensing Opportunity

Available for licensing


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Travis Cook
Senior Technology Development Manager
Oregon Health & Science University
Victor DeFilippis
Jinu Abraham
Sara Botto
Therapeutics - Cancer
Therapeutics - Immunology
Therapeutics - Infectious Diseases
© 2023. All Rights Reserved. Powered by Inteum