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The collaboration with Immunocore, a T cell receptor company, aims to discover and develop immunotherapy molecules to treat infectious diseases.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will invest up to $40 million in a collaboration with Immunocore, a T cell receptor (TCR) company developing biological drugs to treat cancer, infectious diseases, and autoimmune diseases. The investment will support the development of Immunocore’s soluble TCR-based therapeutics for infectious diseases, Immunocore announced on Sep. 18, 2017.
The development includes Immunocore’s ImmTAV (immune mobilizing monoclonal TCRs against virus) and ImmTAB (immune mobilizing monoclonal TCRs against bacteria) therapeutics for infectious diseases. The collaboration will discover and develop ImmTAV and ImmTAB molecules to treat tuberculosis (TB) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) where the TCR-based therapeutics have the potential to reduce treatment timelines and improve patient outcomes. Immunocore will also continue expanding its platform technology to enable therapeutics with broad coverage of the affected disease population.
This new collaboration is part of a larger initiative within Immunocore to apply its soluble TCR-based therapeutics to areas outside of oncology, including infectious diseases and autoimmune diseases. The company’s published preclinical data demonstrated the potential of ImmTAV molecules to redirect the immune system to kill HIV-infected cells from patients treated with antiretroviral therapy, facilitating the clearance of reactivated, latently infected HIV reservoir cells. These data, coupled with the clinical efficacy and safety profile emerging from the company’s lead program in oncology, set the foundation for the application of the company’s platform technology across multiple diseases.
“We believe the immune system harbors the capacity to resolve problematic infectious diseases and our TCR based therapies are well placed to mobilize this process. Our purpose in the Immunocore infectious disease unit is to revolutionize treatments for diseases such as hepatitis B, tuberculosis, and HIV and provide affordable medicines globally including in the developing world. This collaboration will be critical to this initiative,” said Namir Hassan, vice president of the infectious disease unit at Immunocore, in a company press release.