UK Startup Snaps up Potential Universal Cancer Immunotherapy

January 27, 2020 - 2 minutes

The cancer vaccine developer Ervaxx has licensed a preclinical-stage ‘universal’ cancer immunotherapy based on the recent discovery of a new strain of immune T-cells at Cardiff University, UK.

Last week, a team led by researchers at Cardiff University published research about T-cells capable of hunting a wide range of cancers including leukemia and melanoma. Experiments in vitro and in mice suggested that these T-cells could form the basis of a ‘universal’ cancer immunotherapy that could treat more types of cancer than current CAR-T and TCR therapies. The UK biotech Ervaxx has now closed an exclusive licensing agreement with the research group to get hold of the technology.

According to a statement by Ervaxx’s CEO, Kevin Pojasek, the latest T-cell discovery from the Cardiff group has “early but enormous potential for the treatment of cancers.

As part of the licensing deal, Ervaxx will collaborate with the group to develop a universal cancer immunotherapy based on the newly-discovered T-cells. In addition, the partners will develop other immunotherapies based on a different type of T-cells that are able to target so-called ‘dark antigens’ — proteins that are only made by some cancer cells.

Cardiff University will receive undisclosed milestone payments for any treatment candidates that progress to clinical trials, as well as royalties for any candidates reaching the market.

Ervaxx was founded in 2017 but only exited stealth mode in late 2019 with a €16M Series A. Its lead candidate cancer vaccine — targeting cancer cells via dark antigens  — is in preclinical development for the treatment of melanoma.

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