Immunotherapy developer Scancell announced that it will develop ‘GlyMab’ antibodies into T-cell redirecting bispecific (TCB) antibodies, and take them into the clinic as a “promising new therapeutic approach” to treat cancer.
The firm said TCB antibodies have dual-binding specificity, which crosslinks tumour cells via their glycans with an activating receptor CD3 on T-cells.
That results in activation of killer T-cells, and tumour cell death.
Scancell said the antibodies were “particularly potent” in tumours which have lost the T-cell recognition molecule major histocompatibility antigen (MHC), or where there was limited T-cell infiltration as they bypassed normal T-cell activation pathways and redirect the host immune system to the tumour.
The company said it was currently in the preclinical research phase, and expected to take the novel product into a phase 1 clinical study.
It said it believed the project would provide a “strong validation and demonstration of value” for the whole GlyMab antibody platform.
To create TCB antibodies, Scancell said it would combine its proprietary 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 the Oxford-based mAbsolve.
The technology from mAbsolve would reduce the likelihood of toxicity caused by cytokine storms, which could be associated with clinical antibodies engaging the immune system.
Scancell said it would leverage its understanding of cancer immunotherapy and T-cell immunology together with its strong development capabilities to bring the TCB antibodies to clinical validation, adding value to the entire GlyMab platform.
At the same time, the firm said it would use the GlyMab platform to deliver cytotoxic drugs (ADC) or cell therapies (CAR).
The board said it intended to realise the potential of those approaches for the GlyMab antibodies through strategic partnerships with third parties.
“Over the past year we have been evaluating the optimal products for Scancell to develop through exploiting our GlyMab platform,” said chief executive officer Lindy Durrant.
“We believe we can add considerable value to the antibody portfolio by taking TCB products into the clinic, as opposed to out-licensing 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.”