London-based Biotecnol has struck a deal with Cancer Research UK to move its lead immune-oncology drug into an open-label Phase I test. The pact lends the biotech CRUK’s help in seeing whether its antibody drug Tb535H works as planned: binding to a target antigen and then whipping up an immune response to attack cancer cells.
The drug strategy is simple. Their antibody is designed to latch on to a protein: the 5T4/WAIF1 tumor antigen. That in turn is supposed to flag an assault by CD8-positive T cells, the kind of primary immune tactic that has been driving a wide range of development projects in the cancer field.
CRUK is a natural for the collaboration, as its scientists take credit for the discovery of the WAIF1 antigen, which apparently plays a role in a range of solid tumors like lung cancer and thoracic cancers.
“It’s hugely exciting to be able to accelerate the development of a drug that could change outcomes for patients with many different types of cancer,” noted CRUK development director Nigel Blackburn. “In particular we urgently need new ways to improve treatment for lung cancer, which causes more than one in five of all cancer deaths in the UK.”
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