Nottingham, UK – 5th August 2003 – Scancell Ltd., a privately held biotechnology company, and Celltech Group plc announced today that they will collaborate on the development of novel monoclonal antibody therapeutics to Lewisy/b, a promising new cancer target. Under the terms of the agreement, Scancell has granted Celltech the right to evaluate Scancell’s SC101 antibody family and Celltech has acquired an option to an exclusive world-wide licence to any products developed during the collaboration.
Lewisy/b is a cell surface carbohydrate blood group antigen whose expression is very low in normal tissue but over-expressed on breast, lung, colon and ovarian cancer cells. Mouse antibodies recognising Lewisy/b have induced tumour cell death and inhibited growth of various tumour lines. In animal studies, tumour growth was inhibited by anti-Lewisy/b antibodies alone, and especially when combined with 5-fluorouracil.
Dr Melanie Lee, Director of Research and Development of Celltech, commented: "Scancell have generated interesting preclinical data highlighting the potential for SC101 antibodies as cancer fighting drugs. Celltech will explore a range of therapeutic options against the Lewisy/b antigen, particularly the use of its novel antibody fragment platform."
"We are immensely pleased to have signed this agreement with Celltech", said Prof Lindy Durrant, CEO of Scancell. "The collaboration with Celltech, an acknowledged leader in the field of antibody drug development, is an important landmark in Scancell’s development and will offer a great opportunity to fast-track SC101 into the clinic."
Scancell’s expertise lies in the discovery and development of monoclonal antibodies and vaccines for the treatment of cancer. Scancell has identified a large number of novel antigens as potential targets for drug development. Monoclonal antibodies recognising these targets directly induce tumour cell apoptosis and synergise with chemotherapy, thereby reducing toxicity and increasing therapeutic efficacy. Scancell has also developed ImmunoBodies as a platform technology to overcome the present limitations of cancer vaccines. For more information about Scancell visit www.scancell.co.uk
Celltech Group plc (LSE: CCH; NYSE: CLL) is one of Europe's largest biotechnology companies, with an extensive development pipeline and a profitable, cash-generative pharmaceutical business. Celltech also possesses drug discovery capabilities of exceptional strength, including a leading position in antibody engineering. More details can be found at www.celltechgroup.com.