Cancer Research UK and Biotecnol said they will advance an immuno-oncology treatment for lung cancers and other solid tumors into early-phase clinical trials, through a collaboration whose value was not disclosed.

Cancer Research UK will support early clinical development of Biotecnol’s first-in-class drug Tb535H. The anti-5T4 pan-cancer T-cell engager is designed to work by recruiting the patient’s T cells and directing them to attack tumors by targeting the 5T4/WAIF1 tumor antigen, a protein thought to contribute to the spread of cancer cells and found on numerous solid tumors.

Biotecnol and Cancer Research UK’s Centre for Drug Development will partner to advance Tb535H through a Biotecnol-sponsored first-in-humans Phase I clinical trial, using Cancer Research UK’s drug development expertise in return for a stake in Biotecnol.

The WAIF1 antigen was discovered by researchers at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute. While it could prove a valuable target against many forms of cancer, the trial will focus initially on treating cancers with high unmet need—including thoracic cancers such as mesothelioma, small-cell lung carcinoma (SCLC), non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and renal cell carcinoma.

“We urgently need new ways to improve treatment for lung cancer, which causes more than one in five of all cancer deaths in the UK,” Nigel Blackburn, Ph.D., Cancer Research UK’s director of drug development, said in a statement. “Without this collaboration, it might have been years before this treatment reached patients so we‘re pleased to work with Biotecnol to elevate their novel drug development platform.”

Added Biotecnol CEO Pedro de Noronha Pissarra, Ph.D.: “The collaboration is important for Biotecnol’s strategy of working with top cancer institutions in the immune-oncology field which will accelerate the development of cutting-edge therapeutic approaches to fight cancer.”

Tb535H is the first to be discovered through Biotecnol’s novel antibody development platform Trisoma®, which is used for the assembly, engineering, and testing of various Tribody™ molecules with distinct properties under various structural formats with optimal stability and desired pharmacological properties.

Tribodies™ are T-cell-engaging trispecific recombinant antibodies that Biotecnol reasons can be more effective in fighting cancer than conventional monoclonal antibody therapies since they are designed to recruit cytotoxic T lymphocytes.

Cancer Research UK carries out commercial activity through its wholly owned subsidiary Cancer Research Technology (CRT), which pursues drug discovery research through collaborations and oversees commercial partnering.

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