Collaboration to investigate T cell receptors for cancer treatment

Scancell the developer of novel immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer, has entered into a research collaboration with BioNTech for the potential development of innovative, T cell receptor based therapeutics for the treatment of cancer

This research collaboration combines Scancell’s Moditope immunotherapy platform and BioNTech’s platform technology for high-throughput cloning and characterisation of naturally selected T cell receptors.

Moditope represents a completely new class of potent and selective immunotherapy agents, which could have a profound effect on the way that cancer immunotherapies are developed.

It acts by stimulating the production of CD4+ T cells using citrullinated tumour-associated peptide epitopes, which overcome self-tolerance and destroy tumour cells. The technology overcomes the immune suppression induced by tumours themselves without the need for checkpoint blockade inhibitors, thereby allowing activated T cells to seek out and kill tumour cells that would otherwise be hidden from the immune system.

Under the terms of the agreement, Scancell and BioNTech will enter into an initial research collaboration to discover and characterise T cell receptors specific for citrullinated epitopes from vimentin and enolase.

These epitopes form the basis of Scancell’s first Moditope development candidate, Modi-1. Upon completion of these studies, BioNTech will have the exclusive option to enter into a licence agreement for the development of cell receptor based therapeutics that are specific to Modi-1 epitopes.

Professor Lindy Durrant, Chief Scientific Officer of Scancell, said: “We are delighted to be working with BioNTech, one of Europe’s new immuno-oncology power-houses, to investigate the development of targeted immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer.”

“Pre-clinical data from our Moditope platform has shown unprecedented anti-tumour effects can be delivered without the need for checkpoint inhibition. We believe that this, combined with BioNTech’s engineered T cells specific to Moditope epitopes, could have great potential as a novel immunotherapy.”

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