Scancell Holdings Plc, the parent company of Scancell Limited (`Scancell'), the developer of therapeutic cancer vaccines based on its patented ImmunoBody® platform, is pleased to announce it has signed a licensing agreement with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, acting for its division Merck Serono, for two key patents required for the further development and commercialisation of protein ImmunoBody® vaccines. Under the agreement, Scancell has non-exclusive worldwide rights to use the two patents to further develop and commercialise ImmunoBody® vaccines in all therapeutic areas in both humans and animals.
In addition, Scancell has granted Merck Serono an option to negotiate an exclusive license under Scancell's ImmunoBody® platform technology for up to five Merck Serono targets.
Scancell's ImmunoBody® is a breakthrough patent-protected platform technology that aims to overcome the current limitations of cancer vaccines by generating the high-avidity T-cells that kill cancer cells.
By re-engineering the vector, the Immunobody® platform technology can be adapted to provide the basis for treating any tumour type and may also be of utility in the development of vaccines against chronic infectious diseases including hepatitis and HIV.
Scancell's first cancer vaccine SCIB1 is being developed to treat melanoma, with clinical trials commencing in 2010.
David Evans, chairman of Scancell, commented:
"We are delighted to have forged this association with Merck Serono. The agreement will add further strength to Scancell's IP position, as it continues to progress its development of therapeutic vaccines based on the Immunobody® platform."
For Further Information:
Professor Lindy Durrant Scancell Holdings Plc + 44 207 245 1100
Adam Reynolds/Vikki Krause Hansard Group + 44 7515 922906
Ross Andrews Zeus Capital + 44 (0)161 831 1512
Scancell is developing novel therapeutic vaccines for the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases based on its groundbreaking ImmunoBody® technology platform. Scancell's first cancer vaccine SCIB1 is being developed for the treatment of melanoma and will enter clinical trials in early 2010.
Treating cancer by vaccination allows small non-toxic doses of a vaccine to be administered to a patient, stimulating an immune response. Effective cancer vaccines need to target dendritic cells to stimulate both parts of the cellular immune system; the helper cell system where inflammation is stimulated at the tumour site; and the cytotoxic T-lymphocyte or CTL response where immune system cells are primed to recognise and kill specific cells.
A limitation of many cancer vaccines currently in development is that they cannot specifically target dendritic cells in vivo. Several groups have demonstrated successful vaccination by growing dendritic cells ex vivo, pulsing them with tumour antigens and re-infusing them. However, this procedure is patient specific, time consuming and expensive. Scancell has developed its breakthrough patent protected ImmunoBody® technology to overcome these limitations.
An ImmunoBody® is a human antibody or fusion protein engineered to express helper cell and CTL epitopes from tumour antigens over-expressed by cancer cells. Antibodies are ideal vectors for carrying T cell epitopes from tumour antigens as they have long half-lives and can effectively target dendritic cells via their Fc receptors, allowing efficient stimulation of both helper and CTL responses.
The Immunobody® technology can be adapted to provide the basis for treating any tumour type and may also be of potential utility in the development of vaccines against hepatitis, HIV and other chronic infectious diseases.
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