PhosImmune and PureMHC Working Together On Immunotherapies for Cancer
Charlottesville, VA; Austin, TX (October 22, 2014)—PhosImmune Inc. and PureMHC LLC today announced they have entered into a license and collaboration agreement to develop novel antibody-based immunotherapies designed to target cancers.
PhosImmune possesses technology for the identification of phosphorylated peptides displayed on the surfaces of tumor cells in association with HLA molecules. These phosphopeptide tumor targets (PTTs), derived from proteins that play a role in malignancy, are unique to tumor cells, making them candidates for PTT-targeting drugs that attack the tumor without damaging other tissues.
PureMHC possesses technology for the generation of antibodies that mimic T cell receptors, the most potent immune system cell. Called “TCRms,” these bind specifically to peptide-HLA complexes on the surfaces of tumors. TCRms can be used to develop antibody drug conjugates or bi-specific antibody products capable of recruiting immune cells to kill TCRm-decorated tumors.
Under the agreement, PhosImmune will provide PTTs to PureMHC for the discovery of new TCRms. The two companies will jointly own and commercialize the resulting TCRms. Financial details were not disclosed.
“We are very pleased to have this strategic partnership with PureMHC, and look forward to working closely together to create a new generation of targeted immunotherapies,” said Dr Kevin FitzGerald, CEO of PhosImmune. “Pure MHC is one of the very few companies world-wide to successfully create antibodies to peptide-HLA complexes.
“The powerful combination of PhosImmune’s highly tumor-specific peptide antigens with PureMHC’s innovative antibodies provides an exciting opportunity to advance new immunotherapies for clinical testing,” said Dr FitzGerald. “We look forward to a rewarding collaboration and to co-discovering novel therapeutic modalities for currently intractable diseases.”
“PureMHC’s chief scientists, Dr. William Hildebrand and Dr. Jon Weidanz, have spent over two decades in the discovery of novel HLA peptides as markers of cancer and infectious disease and the subsequent development of TCRms as therapeutics to target these markers,” said Thomas Harlan, CEO of PureMHC. “This combined experience and expertise, along with that of PhosImmune’s founding scientists, Dr. Donald Hunt and Dr Vic Engelhard of the University of Virginia, and Dr Mark Cobbold of the University of Birmingham UK, will give pharmaceutical companies access to promising new technologies in the immuno-oncology space. We are pleased to have the privilege to work with PhosImmune on this venture.”
For more detail, see (blog).
# # #
PhosImmune is a cancer target discovery company that was founded to commercialise a growing library of phosphopeptide tumor targets (PTTs) that has been jointly assembled by the University of Virginia and the University of Birmingham, UK. PTTs are a unique class of tumor targets in that they are highly expressed on cancer cells with low/no expression on normal cells, they are found on a wide number of cancer types and they are derived from proteins involved in key pathways that underpin malignancy (reducing the potential for tumor escape). The company has a target discovery engine that allows for the rapid identification and selection of new PTTs for immuno-oncology applications. Existing PTTs or newly discovered PTTs may be exploited by antibody, TCR, CAR-T and cancer vaccine approaches.
PureMHC is an immunology company focused on MHC-based diagnostics and therapeutics that was formed from innovative technologies developed in two Emergent Technologies portfolio companies, Pure Protein, LLC and Receptor Logic, LLC, to provide a novel solution for the treatment of infectious diseases and cancers. Pure Protein, founded in 1999 and led by William Hildebrand, PhD, has technology to manufacture soluble HLA proteins that are used in a proprietary method of novel immunogenic epitope discovery and validation. Receptor Logic, founded in 2003 and led by Jon Weidanz, PhD, has proprietary technology for generating T cell Receptor mimics (TCRms) from novel epitopes defined by Pure Protein. PureMHC was formed and is managed by Austin-based innovations solutions company, Emergent Technologies, Inc.
Kevin FitzGerald PhD MBA, CEO T: +44 (0) 7801 186355
Cameron Mackie, VP T: (512) 697 8224