The partnership will build on Immunocore’s unique T cell receptor technology, which uses the body’s immune system to locate and destroy diseased cells.
Genentech, a subsidiary of Roche, will work with Immunocore to discover, develop and commercialise ‘ImmTAC’ (Immune mobilising mTCR Against Cancer) drugs based on this platform.
The two pioneering biotech companies have entered into a research collaboration and licensing agreement for the discovery and development of multiple novel cancer targets.
For each target programme, Immunocore will receive an initial fee of $10–20m and is eligible to receive over $300m in milestone payments, plus royalties.
ImmTACs are biological drugs that exploit the power of T cell receptors to recognise changes within cells that occur during cancer or viral infection – whereas traditional antibody-based therapies only recognise changes on cell surfaces.
This means that ImmTACs can be directed to target and destroy only cancerous cells and leave healthy cells alone.
Bent Jakobsen, Chief Scientific Officer of Immunocore, said: “Our collaboration with Genentech generating ImmTACs against these novel targets allows us jointly to explore the true potential of the technology. We look forward to see ImmTACs addressing some of the major challenges in cancer therapy.”
“We believe Immunocore is the leading company in T cell receptor biology and drug development and an excellent partner for Genentech in this area,” commented James Sabry, Senior Vice President of Genentech Partnering.
“We hope this collaboration will lead to breakthrough therapies for cancer patients with unmet medical needs.”