U.K. biotech Adaptimmune Therapeutics ($ADAP) is expanding its ranks as it moves forward with a pipeline of cancer immunotherapies, leasing a big R&D facility near its native Oxford.
Construction is under way on a 67,000-square-foot operation in Milton Park, Oxfordshire, the company said. The building, slated to come online late next year, will have lab and office space to support about 200 researchers, Adaptimmune said, situated among the roughly 250 companies based in Milton Park.
The long-term plan for Adaptimmune is to staff up beyond its current 150-employee payroll and push forward with a stable of treatments based on T cell receptor, or TCR, technology, through which the biotech can sharpen the immune system's weaponry and train T cells to attack cancers.
Similar to the CAR-T therapies that have made headlines around the world, TCR treatments are designed to school a patient's T cells to seek out specific antigens expressed by tumors liquid and solid. Adaptimmune's top prospect, partnered with GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), targets the NY-ESO antigen and is in the midst of clinical trials in 5 cancer varieties with more studies in the cards. The company also has a wholly owned TCR aimed at the MAGE A-10 antigen, slated for clinical development this year.
The promise of its TCR technology helped Adaptimmune pull off a $191 million U.S. IPO in May, cash that will help bankroll the company's expansion and ongoing R&D. GSK came aboard last year with a deal worth as much as $350 million over 7 years.
Adaptimmune, a 2014 Fierce 15 honoree, closed a $104 million Series A round in September 2014.
Special Report: FierceBiotech's 2014 Fierce 15 - Adaptimmune