The Oxford, UK-based biotech company has developed a platform of bi-specific biological drugs which target peptide-antigens on cancer cell, called ImmTACs (Immune mobilizing mTCR Against Cancer), using T Cell Receptors.
All cancer cells contain some form of peptide-antigens, CEO James Noble told Biopharma-Reporter.com and so it “should be a way of attacking many more cancers than with antibody targets,” which he added was where the industry has been focusing, though only about 10% of cancer cells have this ‘antibody flag.’
Nobel said the platform could represent the “dawn of a completely new way of finding cancer cells," adding that it has attracted industry attention because Big Pharma firms are constantly on the look out for new ways to identify new targets they can use to develop new antibody drugs for the $50bn a year market.
Within the last month this has certainly been the case with first a research collaboration and licensing agreement with Roche subsidiary, Genetech, and then a similar pipeline partnership with GSK, both worth potentially in excess of £200m ($300m) for Immunocore.
Now Noble says another deal with Big Pharma is expected by the end of the year. “Most of the big pharmaceutical companies haven’t failed to spot the fact we have done these two deals – the phone’s been going a lot.
“We don’t have the capacity to do 20 of these deals so we are really looking to do a third one within a year.”