Immunocore lifer leaves to head research at TCR rival Scancell

Scancell revealed news of Samantha Paston’s appointment alongside details of its new head of manufacturing. (Pixabay)

Samantha Paston has ended her long association with Immunocore to take up the head of research position at Scancell. Paston’s appointment is part of a broader effort by Scancell to add experience as it steps up its immunotherapy development activities. 

Scancell is developing anticancer candidates based on two immunotherapy platforms, ImmunoBody and Moditope. The pipeline of ImmunoBody vaccines, led by clinical-phase NY-ESO-1 asset SCIB1, has advanced furthest, but the other platform has attracted attention and a T-cell receptor (TCR) deal with BioNTech. 

With Scancell gearing up for trials and stepping up its TCR activities, the British biotech has added Paston to its team. Paston joined Avidex, the company that became Immunocore via an acquisition and spinout, straight after earning her doctorate in 2006 and stayed on throughout the early changes and more recent upheavals.

The upshot is that Paston has worked at Immunocore since it was founded in 2008. Having started out as a senior research scientist, Paston went on to lead the T cell cloning and cell biology groups during her 11 years at the TCR specialist. Paston will now apply this experience to the emerging range of R&D tasks facing Scancell.

"Samantha will be invaluable in immunological design of the upcoming trials and spearheading the new TCR therapeutics,” Lindy Durrant, Scancell’s founder and chief scientific officer, said in a statement. Paston will report directly to Durrant.

Scancell revealed news of Paston’s appointment alongside details of its new head of manufacturing. Adrian Parry, formerly head of small molecule CMC at Mereo BioPharma, has taken up the post, giving Scancell an employee with experience managing outsourced GMP production of clinical trial materials at a time when its manufacturing needs are growing.