AXL Kinase Biology

AXL kinase is a receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) that spans the tumour cell membrane and is member of the TAM (Tyro-AXL-Mer) kinase family.

Activation of AXL kinase is a key driver of a process called the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), which in liquid and solid cancers, induces aggressive cell traits through tumour cell proliferation, activation of survival mechanisms and migration of cancer cells.

BerGenBio’s scientists were the first to recognise the important role AXL kinase has in EMT, and the correlation between the upregulation of AXL expression with aggressive cancers traits that lead to cancer spread, immune evasion and drug resistance.

It is now widely accepted that AXL expression correlates with poor prognosis in the vast majority of cancers and that AXL inhibition can reverse EMT in aggressive cancers, restore immune sensitivity and cancer drug effectiveness. AXL inhibition therefore represents an exciting new therapeutic opportunity for aggressive, immune-evasive, drug-resistant and metastatic cancers.

BerGenBio’s lead drug candidate, BGB324, is the only selective small molecule AXL kinase inhibitor in clinical development.