Research collaboration with immatics to develop novel ImmunoBody® vaccines for colorectal cancer

Scancell Holdings Plc, (PLUS:SCLP), the developer of therapeutic cancer vaccines, today announces a research collaboration with immatics biotechnologies GmbH (“immatics”) to explore the development of novel ImmunoBody® vaccines for colorectal cancer.

immatics discovers and develops tumor-associated peptides (TUMAPs) for the immunotherapy of cancer. TUMAPs with the highest specificity for particular cancers are identified directly from primary human tumour tissue samples. From thousands of identified TUMAPs the most suitable ones are selected and combined to a single multi-peptide product to form a therapeutic cancer vaccine. The goal is to provoke a number of specific T-cell responses which finally result in the destruction of tumour cells presenting the TUMAPs.

immatics’ most advanced product, IMA901, has been evaluated in a Europe-wide multi-centre Phase II clinical trial in renal cancer. Positive data of this Phase II study have recently been published at the ASCO 2010 meeting. immatics’ pipeline also includes IMA910 for the treatment of colorectal carcinoma which has recently entered a large Phase I/II clinical trial.

Scancell’s first vaccine using its patented ImmunoBody® technology is SCIB1, a novel DNA vaccine being developed for the treatment of melanoma, which is currently in Phase 1 clinical trials. An advantage of Scancell’s Immunobody® platform is that it specifically targets dendritic* cells, leading to a significant enhancement of the immune response. This enhanced immune response against TRP-2 (a melanoma protein called Tyrosinase-Related Protein 2) is anticipated to lead to the inhibition and regression of both primary and metastatic melanoma tumour growth.

In the research collaboration with immatics, colorectal cancer-specific TUMAPs will be incorporated into ImmunoBody® constructs to create ImmunoBody® vaccines targeted towards colorectal cancer. If the research project is successful, immatics and Scancell will explore the further development of any product candidates.

Paul Higham, CEO of Immatics said

“We are very pleased to enter this research collaboration with Scancell as the colorectal TUMAPs identified by immatics have the potential to complement and enhance Scancell's ImmunoBody technology. We eagerly await the results.”

Professor Lindy Durrant, Chief Executive Officer of Scancell, commented:

“Our research collaboration with immatics will create the opportunity to bring together two world class technologies. We will be working together with immatics to evaluate the combination of the immatics’ TUMAP technology with Scancell’s ImmunoBody® technology for the development of novel vaccines for the treatment of colorectal cancer.”

* A type of white blood cell that initiates an immune response

The Directors of the issuer accept responsibility for this announcement.

For further information contact:

Professor Lindy Durrant, (CEO)  -  Scancell Holdings Plc:

  • +44 (0)207 245 1100

Katrin Eckert (Assistant to the Management)  -  immatics biotechnologies GmbH

John Bick/Kirsty Corcoran  -  Hansard Communications

  • +44 (0)207 245 1100
  • +44 (0)7872 061 007

Ross Andrews/Tom Rowley  -  Zeus Capital

  • +44 (0)161 831 1512

About Scancell

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 is currently in Phase 1 clinical trials.

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.

About immatics

immatics biotechnologies is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing advanced therapeutic vaccines that are active against cancer. immatics’ lead product, IMA901 has completed a successful Phase II trial in renal cell carcinoma. immatics’ pipeline also includes IMA910, in Phase II for colorectal cancer, and IMA950 which is being developed for glioma.

immatics’ technology platform rapidly generates defined therapeutic cancer vaccines which are based on multiple tumor-associated peptides (TUMAPs) with the ability to specifically stimulate the immune system against cancer cells. These vaccines – comprising multiple peptides confirmed to be naturally presented by real tumor tissue – offer the prospect of greater effectiveness than existing cancer vaccine approaches combined with fewer side effects. immatics’ products are ‘drug like’ with stable, off -the- shelf formulations and robust easily scalable manufacturing.