OXFORD, England, January 6, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
Immunocore Limited, a world-leading biotechnology company developing novel T cell receptor (TCR) based biological drugs to treat cancer, viral infections and autoimmune disease, today announced that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has selected the first clinical candidate as part of a discovery collaboration, resulting in an undisclosed milestone payment to Immunocore.
The candidate selected ImmTAC addresses a target relevant in a number of different cancer indications including synovial sarcoma, bladder and non-small cell lung (NSCL) cancers.
Immunocore will now undertake further preclinical testing and cGMP manufacture before progressing the ImmTAC to Phase I clinical development.
Eliot Forster, Chief Executive Officer of Immunocore, said: "We are delighted by the progress being made in our collaboration with GSK, one of our key alliance partners, and look forward to the first ImmTAC under this agreement entering the clinic in due course."
Bent Jakobsen, Chief Scientific Officer of Immunocore, said: "Our proprietary 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 diseased cells. We believe that this technology has significant potential in the treatment of a range of cancers, and we are delighted to be working with GSK as it moves towards clinical development."
Axel Hoos, Vice President Oncology R&D at GSK, said: "Selection of this ImmTAC clinical candidate is an important milestone in our successful collaboration with Immunocore and speaks to the strong science underlying the ImmTAC platform. As GSK continues to explore potential next generation immuno-oncology therapies, we look forward to learning more about this asset as development progresses. "
Notes for editors
Immunocore is one of the world's leading biotechnology companies, with a highly innovative immuno-oncology platform technology called ImmTACs. ImmTACs are a novel class of biologic drugs based on the Company's proprietary T cell receptor (TCR) technology which have the potential to treat diseases with high unmet medical need including cancer, infectious diseases and autoimmune diseases. Immunocore, based on decades of world-leading scientific innovation in the discovery of HLA targets and T cell receptor technology, has a pipeline of wholly-owned and partnered ImmTAC programmes with robust clinical data, validated by collaborations with world-leading pharmaceutical companies. Immunocore aims to leverage the utility of its platform across a wide range of indications to become a Premier Biotech company and world-leader in its field.
Immunocore's world-leading science and strong IP position has attracted major pharmaceutical companies including Genentech, GSK, MedImmune, the biologics division of AstraZeneca, via discovery collaborations, as well as a co-discovery and co-development partnership with Lilly. The Company has also entered into combination trials with its lead programme, IMCgp100 in melanoma, with Medimmune and Lilly. Founded in 2008 originally out of Oxford University and headquartered outside Oxford, Immunocore now has more than 185 staff. Immunocore's current investors are well-renowned, leading international institutions including Woodford Investment Management, Malin Corporation, Eli Lilly and Company, RTW Investments, Fidelity Management & Research Company as well as other private shareholders. For more information, please visit http://www.immunocore.com
Immunocore's proprietary technology is focused on small protein molecules called ImmTACs (Immune mobilising mTCR Against Cancer) that enable the immune system to recognise and kill cancerous or bacterially/virally infected cells. Immunocore's ImmTACs, a new class of drug with ultra-high affinity for intracellular cancer targets, are synthetic, soluble T cell receptors (TCRs) that recognise diseased cells containing disease specific targets. The ImmTACs enable circulating T-cells to selectively identify and kill diseased cells. The ImmTAC platform is unique in its high specificity and potency and broad applicability to a wide range of intracellular targets and disease indications. ImmTACs can access up to nine-fold more targets than typical antibody-based therapies, including monoclonal antibodies.
TCRs naturally recognise diseased cells and Immunocore's world-leading competitive advantage is its ability to engineer high affinity TCRs and link them to an antibody fragment that activates a highly potent and specific T cell response to recognise and destroy cancer cells. The most advanced ImmTAC, IMCgp100, is currently in Phase IIa clinical trials for the treatment of late stage melanoma. Immunocore has a growing internal pipeline of ImmTACs addressing many different cancer types and has developed a broad database of intracellular cancer targets.
ImmTACs can address a significantly larger range of disease indications than currently respond to existing immuno-oncology agents and combine the characteristics of very high potency, encouraging safety and low cost of goods.
For more information, please contact:
Eliot Forster, Chief Executive Officer
T: +44 (0)1235 438600
Consilium Strategic Communications
Mary-Jane Elliott/Jessica Hodgson/Chris Welsh/Laura Thornton
T: +44 (0)203 709 5700
SOURCE Immunocore Limited