Scancell Holdings plc, which develops immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer and infectious disease, has announced it will develop its GlyMab antibodies into T cell redirecting bispecific (TCB) antibodies and take them into the clinic.
The UK company said this is a promising new therapeutic approach to treat cancer. TCB antibodies have dual-binding specificity, which crosslinks tumor cells via their glycans with an activating receptor CD3 on T cells.
This results in activation of killer T cells and tumor cell death. These antibodies are particularly potent in tumors that have lost the T cell recognition molecule major histocompatibility antigen (MHC) or where there is limited T cell infiltration as they by-pass normal T cell activation pathways and redirect the host immune system to the tumor.
The company is currently in the preclinical research phase and expects to take the product into a phase 1 clinical study in due course.
To create TCB antibodies, Scancell will combine its GlyMab antibodies, which target sugar motifs rather than proteins and are designed to have superior affinity and selectivity profiles, with in-licenced Fc silencing technology from Oxford-based mAbsolve.
The technology from mAbsolve reduces the likelihood of toxicity caused by cytokine storms, which can be associated with clinical antibodies engaging the immune system.
In parallel, the company said it will utilize the GlyMab platform to deliver cytotoxic drugs (ADC) or cell therapies (CAR). The Scancell board said it intends to realize the potential of these approaches for the GlyMab antibodies through strategic partnerships with third parties.
Lindy Durrant, CEO of Scancell, said: “Over the past year we have been evaluating the optimal products for Scancell to develop through exploiting our Glymab platform. We believe we can add considerable value to the antibody portfolio by taking TCB products into the clinic, as opposed to outlicensing them at the preclinical stage. At the same time, the board continues to evaluate opportunities to enter into revenue generating deals for our antibodies with ADC or CAR companies.”
Geoff Hale, CEO of mAbsolve, said: “We are delighted that Scancell has selected our technology for the development of their TCB products. We are convinced that our technology is the most effective approach to inhibit unwanted immune activation associated with antibodies redirecting T cells.”
Scancell has been building a pipeline of differentiated anti-cancer monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that target sugar motifs rather than proteins. The company currently has five novel mAbs in early-stage development and has the potential to identify more mAbs against glycan targets in the future.
All cells are covered by a dense layer of sugar structures, called glycans, which change when a normal cell turns into a cancer cell. These glycan motifs that are associated with tumor malignancies can be targeted by antibodies such as the GlyMab portfolio.
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