BioInvent International AB and Cancer Research Technology Ltd, the commercial arm of Cancer Research UK, announced that they have entered a collaboration with Queen Mary, University of London, to identify new therapeutic antibodies in oncology.
BioInvent and scientists funded by Cancer Research UK at Queen Mary, under the leadership of Dr. Thorsten Hagemann, senior research fellow, Cancer Research UK, will jointly be looking for new therapeutic targets by applying BioInvent’s F.I.R.S.T. technology, a functional approach to therapeutic antibody discovery. Dr. Hagemann and his team will in return provide the collaboration with biological pathways for the development of new oncology therapies.
The F.I.R.S.T. platform, through its ground-breaking proprietary biopanning technology, enables identification of functionally superior antibodies across multiple targets overexpressed by target cells. This combined target and drug discovery platform utilizes primary cancer patient cells, rather than recombinant proteins, as an antigen source allowing for discovery of novel specificities (receptors and epitopes) and target receptor functions.
The agreement gives BioInvent the option to enter into licenses to bring forward drug candidates beyond lead candidate identification in exchange for milestones and royalties to CRT.
Cancer Research UK’s scientist Dr. Thorsten Hagemann said: “By combining the preclinical expertise in animal models within my laboratory and our access to patient samples with BioInvent’s F.I.R.S.T. technology we hope to speed up the discovery and development of new possible treatments. We will focus primarily on targets which affect the pro-tumour role of myeloid cells in solid malignancies, an area in which my lab has developed significant experience. We would anticipate such therapies to be applicable across a range of tumour types.”
Dr. Björn Frendéus, Vice President Preclinical Research at BioInvent, comments: “It is of major importance for BioInvent to tap into the vast knowledge base of a multi-pronged organisation such as Cancer Research Technology. One of our first areas of interest will be in the biology of myeloid cells in cancer, which has been an area of focus for us for many years.”
Dr. Phil L’Huillier, CRT’s director of business development, said: “CRT has a strong interest in exploring the exciting area of the tumour microenvironment to create innovative new cancer therapies. Tumour associated macrophages are increasingly recognised as important players in cancer, and bringing together BioInvent’s unique antibody discovery platform with Dr. Hagemann’s expertise in the macrophage field provides this collaboration with a unique blend of skills to develop multiple therapeutic projects with the potential to benefit cancer patients”.