LONDON, July 9 GlaxoSmithKline plans to
exploit new technology from private British biotech company
Immunocore to develop next-generation drugs against cancer that
fight tumours in ways antibody-based drugs cannot.
Britain's biggest pharmaceuticals group will pay 142 million
pounds ($212 million) in pre-clinical milestone payments for
access to the Oxford-based company's work on multiple drug
targets, the two partners said on Tuesday.
Immunocore will also get up to 200 million pounds for each
product that finally reaches the market, plus up to double-digit
percentage royalties on any sales.
The tie-up with GSK is the second validation of Immunocore's
work by a big pharmaceutical company, following a similar deal
with Roche's Genentech unit last month.
Immunocore's technology relies on a new type of medicines it
calls "ImmTACs." These drugs exploit the power of T cell
receptors - a part of the immune system - to recognise changes
that occur inside cells during cancer or viral infection.
ImmTACs then activate the immune system to kill targeted cells.
Traditional antibody-based therapies only recognise changes
on the surface of cells.
Laurent Jespers, head of innovation at GSK's
biopharmaceuticals unit, said ImmTACs offered "a tremendous
opportunity" in treating cancer.
The most advanced ImmTAC drug, IMCgp100 for the treatment of
melanoma, is currently in early Phase I/II clinical trials.