Eli Lilly, Immunocore Partner in Immunotherapy

Eli Lilly and Company and Immunocore Limited, a privately owned biopharmaceutical company, have entered into a co-discovery and co-development collaboration to research and potentially develop novel T cell-based cancer therapies.

The deal centers around Immunocore’s Immune Mobilizing Monoclonal T-Cell Receptor Against Cancer (ImmTAC) technology, which has shown potential to direct a patient’s T cells to specifically target cancerous cells, thereby avoiding damage to healthy cells. Under  the agreement, Immunocore will receive an upfront fee of $15 million per program for the discovery of novel ImmTACs against jointly selected cancer targets in order to generate preclinical candidate packages. If Lilly accepts a preclinical candidate package to develop and potentially commercialize, Immunocore will receive an opt-in fee of $10 million and will have an option to continue co-development with Lilly on a cost-sharing and profit-sharing basis. If Immunocore does not exercise its option, it will be entitled to potential future significant milestone and royalty payments.

T Cell Receptors naturally recognize diseased cells and Immunocore’s competitive position is its ability to engineer high-affinity T Cell Receptors and link them to an antibody fragment that can activate the immune system to kill the targeted cancer or viral cells. These bi-specific proteins, called ImmTACS, have the potential to be potent anti-cancer or antiviral agents. The most advanced ImmTAC is in Phase II clinical trials for the treatment of late-stage melanoma.

Immunocore, based in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, UK ,was founded in 2008. Its  origins date back to Avidex Ltd, which was founded in 1999 as a spin-out from the University of Oxford to develop novel T Cell Receptor technology invented by the founder and chief scientist, Dr Bent Jakobsen .

Source: Eli Lilly .

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