Macrophage Pharma is an immunotherapy company that develops unique small-molecule drugs which are targeted to cells of monocytic origin such as macrophages and dendritic cells.  It uses its proprietary Esterase Sensitive Motif (ESM™) technology to achieve selective delivery and accumulation of drugs in these cells.

The ESM™ technology is a medicinal chemistry platform that is designed to deliver small molecule drugs to macrophages in a highly selective manner to activate the body’s natural immune system to fight multiple disease areas including cancer inflammation, fibrosis and metabolism.

Macrophage Pharma’s novel Esterase Sensitive Motif (ESM™) technology has been successfully applied to multiple intracellular inhibitor drug classes.  It has been validated clinically in Phase 1 clinical trials, ESM HDAC inhibitors Tefinostat (cancer) and GSK3117391 (healthy volunteer study).

Macrophage Pharma’s initial clinical focus is to target tumour associated macrophages (TAMs) creating a more hostile environment for tumour growth by:

  • Reprogramming tumour macrophages to stimulate the anti-tumour immune response
  • Reversing immunosuppression in the tumour microenvironment
  • Converting tolerogenic dendritic cells to effective antigen presenting cells

The company is exploiting a unique and proprietary knowledge base to unleash the full therapeutic potential of ESM™  technology in immuno-oncology.

Our Approach


Macrophage Pharma’s primary goal is to develop a new generation of powerful small-molecule immunotherapies which modulate immune responses to combat disease based on its proprietary Esterase Sensitive Motif Technology™ (ESM™) platform.

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ESM Technology


The foundation of Macrophage Pharma’s approach is its proprietary Esterase Sensitive Motif (ESM™) technology. The technology involves the use of specifically designed amino acid ester motifs that are selectively hydrolysed.

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Research Projects


Macrophage Pharma’s lead programme is focused on the novel macrophage and dendritic cell targeted p38 MAPK inhibitor, MPL5821, supported by a strong package of non-clinical immuno-oncology and early safety pharmacology data.

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