Nottingham and London, UK – 12th December 2003 – Scancell Ltd., Onyvax Limited and Cancer Research Technology Limited (CRT), today announced an agreement enabling Scancell to develop and commercialise its proprietary ImmunoBody cancer vaccine technology. Under the terms of the agreement Onyvax, one of the world's leading cancer vaccine companies, will also have a non-exclusive licence to develop the technology.
The ImmunoBody Approach
Cancer vaccines represent a highly attractive approach for cancer therapy as, in contrast to current treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, small non-toxic doses of a vaccine may be administered to a patient to stimulate an immune response. It is generally accepted that to be effective against cancer, a vaccine needs to target dendritic cells to stimulate both parts of the cellular immune system, the helper cell system (known as the CD4-mediated response) which stimulates inflammation at the tumour site, and the cytotoxic T-lymphocyte or CTL response (known as the CD8-mediated response) in which cells of the immune system 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's ImmunoBody approach involves engineering a human antibody to express helper cell and CTL epitopes from tumour antigens over-expressed by commercially important solid tumours. These ImmunoBodies efficiently target dendritic cells in vivo via the CD64 receptor to stimulate effective immunity. They offer the potential to develop more effective vaccines against both cancer and infectious diseases.
Commenting on the agreement, Professor Lindy Durrant, CEO of Scancell, said: "We are very pleased to have reached agreement with CRT and Onyvax on the ImmunoBody programme. This platform offers Scancell the opportunity to develop new cancer vaccines on its own behalf and in partnership with others. The collaboration with Onyvax is the first exciting example of how we intend to accelerate the development of the ImmunoBody programme through partnerships over the next few years."
Dr Anthony Walker, CEO of Onyvax, commented: "Scancell's ImmunoBody technology is potentially a breakthrough in cancer vaccine design, offering the opportunity to develop more effective vaccines against this disease."
Dr Keith Blundy, Director of Business Management at CRT, said: "We are very pleased that Scancell and Onyvax will be undertaking further development of the ImmunoBody technology and hope that the programme will lead to new therapeutic options for cancer patients."