Two British Titans in Immuno-Oncology have Chosen their First Clinical Candidate
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has selected the first clinical T-cell receptor targeting candidate as part of an Immuno-Oncology discovery collaboration, resulting in an undisclosed milestone payment to Oxford based Immunocore.
Immunocore’s world-leading science and strong international presence has attracted many major pharmaceutical companies including Genentech, MedImmune, the biologics division of AstraZeneca, and a co-discovery and co-development partnership with Eli Lilly.
Therefore, GSK is just another huge pharma in partnership with this UK ‘Biotech which over-performed in 2015‘. Indeed, we interviewed their CBO, Eva-Lotta Allan, at Genesis last month on their proprietary T-Cell receptor (TCR) technology and how they have raised nearly €300M ($320M) in its last round of fundraising – a pure anomaly for the European standard.
So what is all the fuss about? ImmTACs are Immunoocore’s novel class of biologic drugs which have the potential to treat diseases besides just cancer, including infectious and autoimmune disease. As their Chief Scientific Officer, Bent Jakobsen, explained:
“ImmTACs are soluble TCRs that naturally recognise diseased cells with ultra-high affinity and enable circulating T-cells to be re-directed to kill the disease“.
And the particular ImmTAC candidate selected addresses a target relevant to a number of different cancers, including synovial sarcoma, bladder and non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC). To better understand how TCR technology is being developed by Biotechs to fight cancer, you can read our review here.
Immunocore will now undertake further pre-clinical testing and cGMP manufacturing before progressing the ImmTAC in question to Phase I clinical development.