IGEM Therapeutics has raised £2M (€2.3M) in Series A to support the development of its pipeline of IgE antibodies to treat cancer.

IGEM Therapeutics is London’s latest addition to the crowded immuno-oncology space. The biotech says it can generate more efficient antibodies against well-known cancer targets based on its platform of next-generation IgE antibodies. To fund the development of IGEM’s portfolio of IgE candidates, the company has now raised £2M (€2.3M) in a Series A round from UK-based Epidarex Capital.

The young biotech was founded in 2016 and is a spin-out from Sophia Karagiannis‘ lab at Kings College London. In addition to securing its first funding, the company was also able to recruit Tim Wilson as its new CEO, who brings 28 years of experience in the life science industry.

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IGEM says it has already generated proof-of-concept, showing that its IgE antibodies have superior efficacy in a variety of preclinical cancer models compared to IgG antibodies, which make up most monoclonal antibodies on the market. Therefore, the company is currently building a portfolio of IgE candidates that target well-described cancer antigens such as HER2, EGFR or PD-L1.

IgE-antibodies

The IgE antibodies differ from the commonly used IgG subtypes based on the composition of their so-called Fc-region. This region is the tail part of an antibody molecule that plays a major role in the activation of immune responses. The Fc-region of IgE antibodies is essential for immunity against parasites and triggers very potent immune responses mediated by macrophages, basophils and monocytes.

According to IGEM, such immune responses could be especially powerful against solid tumors that often don’t respond well to current immunotherapies. “We believe that IgE antibodies are ideally suited to the treatment of solid tumors and we look forward to working with IGEM to realize their potential,” commented Sophia Karagiannis, scientific founder of IGEM, in a press release.

IGEM’s approach of targeting well-defined targets with more effective antibodies seems promising. However, a counterpoint to amplifying immune responses is that it could exaggerate side-effects, which already trouble marketed immunotherapies and can cause considerable harm. For now, it’s too early to tell if the IGEM’s IgE platform can compete in terms of safety and efficacy but it seems like the company has found a yet-unoccupied niche in the notoriously crowded immuno-oncology space.

Images via shutterstock /  Designua and Iakov Kalinin

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