OXFORD, England, January 20, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
Immunocore Limited, a world-leading biotechnology company developing novel T cell receptor (TCR) based biological drugs to treat cancer, viral infections and autoimmune disease, today announced that it has started a Phase Ib/II combination trial for the treatment of metastatic cutaneous melanoma.
The trial will evaluate IMCgp100, Immunocore's lead ImmTAC (Immune Mobilising Monoclonal T-Cell Receptor Against Cancer), in combination with durvalumab and tremelimumab, the investigational immunotherapies of MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca. The open label, four arm, randomized Phase Ib/II trial will explore IMCgp100 paired respectively with durvalumab and tremelimumab as well as investigating all three immunotherapy agents together. The primary goal of the combination trials will be to assess the safety and efficacy of the different combinations. Immunocore is responsible for conducting the trial.
Dr. Christina Coughlin, Chief Medical Officer of Immunocore commented: "This collaboration with MedImmune offers an excellent opportunity to explore how IMCgp100, together with durvalumab and tremelimumab respectively, could form the backbone of a set ofbest-in-class combinations for the treatment of patients with metastatic melanoma."
The companies announced the formation of this combination partnership in April 2015 and also have a pre-existing research collaboration and licensing agreement, announced in January 2014, to develop novel cancer therapies using Immunocore's ImmTAC technology.
Notes for editors
Immunocore is one of the world's leading biotechnology companies, with a highly innovative immuno-oncology platform technology called ImmTACs. ImmTACs are a novel class of biologic drugs based on the Company's proprietary T cell receptor (TCR) technology which have the potential to treat diseases with high unmet medical need including cancer, infectious diseases and autoimmune diseases. Immunocore, based on decades of world-leading scientific innovation in the discovery of HLA targets and T cell receptor technology, has a pipeline of wholly-owned and partnered ImmTAC programmes with robust clinical data, validated by collaborations with world-leading pharmaceutical companies. Immunocore aims to leverage the utility of its platform across a wide range of indications to become a Premier Biotech company and world-leader in its field.
Immunocore's world-leading science and strong IP position has attracted major pharmaceutical companies including Genentech, GlaxoSmithKline, MedImmune, the biologics division of AstraZeneca, via discovery collaborations, as well as a co-discovery and co-development partnership with Lilly. The Company has also entered into combination trials with its lead programme, IMCgp100 in melanoma, with Medimmune and Lilly. Founded in 2008 originally out of Oxford University and headquartered outside Oxford, Immunocore now has more than 185 staff. Immunocore's current investors are well-renowned, leading international institutions including Woodford Investment Management, Malin Corporation, Eli Lilly and Company, RTW Investments, Fidelity Management & Research Company as well as other private shareholders. For more information, please visit http://www.immunocore.com
Immunocore's proprietary technology is focused on small protein molecules called ImmTACs (Immune mobilising mTCR Against Cancer) that enable the immune system to recognise and kill cancerous or bacterially/virally infected cells. Immunocore's ImmTACs, a new class of drug with ultra-high affinity for intracellular cancer targets, are synthetic, soluble T cell receptors (TCRs) that recognise diseased cells containing disease specific targets. The ImmTACs enable circulating T-cells to selectively identify and kill diseased cells. The ImmTAC platform is unique in its high specificity and potency and broad applicability to a wide range of intracellular targets and disease indications. ImmTACs can access up to nine-fold more targets than typical antibody-based therapies, including monoclonal antibodies.
TCRs naturally recognise diseased cells and Immunocore's world-leading competitive advantage is its ability to engineer high affinity TCRs and link them to an antibody fragment that activates a highly potent and specific T cell response to recognise and destroy cancer cells. The most advanced ImmTAC, IMCgp100, is currently in Phase IIa clinical trials for the treatment of late stage melanoma. Immunocore has a growing internal pipeline of ImmTACs addressing many different cancer types and has developed a broad database of intracellular cancer targets.
ImmTACs can address a significantly larger range of disease indications than currently respond to existing immuno-oncology agents and combine the characteristics of very high potency, encouraging safety and low cost of goods.
About Durvalumab (MEDI4736)
Durvalumab is an investigational human monoclonal antibody directed against programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1). Signals from PD-L1 help tumours avoid detection by the immune system. Durvalumab blocks these signals, countering the tumour's immune-evading tactics.
Durvalumab was accelerated into Phase III clinical development in non-small cell lung cancer and head and neck cancer. The OCEANS clinical development programme will evaluate durvalumab as monotherapy and in combination with a CTLA-4 (tremelimumab) in lung cancer, across the spectrum of the disease. In head and neck cancer, durvalumab is being investigated both as monotherapy and in combination with tremelimumab, looking at patients with different PD-L1 expression status who have failed on chemotherapy.
Tremelimumab is a fully human monoclonal IgG2 antibody which stimulates the immune system to destroy cancer cells through binding to the protein CTLA-4, expressed on the surface of activated T lymphocytes.
Tremelimumab has been granted Orphan Drug Designation by the US FDA for the treatment of patients with malignant mesothelioma. It is also currently being studied in combination with AstraZeneca's anti -PD-L1 investigational immunotherapy, MEDI4736, in tumour types including non-small cell lung cancer and head and neck cancer. It is also being studied in combination with Iressa® (gefitinib) in EGFR mutated non-small cell lung cancer and with MEDI6469 (a murine OX40 agonist) in solid tumours.
For more information, please contact:
Eliot Forster, Chief Executive Officer
Consilium Strategic Communications
Mary-Jane Elliott/Jessica Hodgson/Chris Welsh/Laura Thornton