Immunotherapy describes a new generation of therapeutics that exploit and enhance the body’s own immune system. In recent years, notable clinical successes alongside a better understanding of the immune response, have brought about intense interest in this area of medicine. Immunocore’s soluble TCR-based therapeutics combine the best of the latest techniques to provide a unique therapeutic platform with the potential to generate potent and durable responses across a broad range of indications, including cancer, infectious diseases and autoimmune diseases.
In oncology, targeted immunotherapies such as monoclonal antibodies specifically recognise and attack cancer cells, but despite generating strong initial anti-cancer responses with low toxicity, resistance frequently arises due to high mutation rates, allowing the cancer to return. Other therapeutic approaches, such as the checkpoint inhibitors anti-PD1/PDL1 and anti-CTLA-4, focus instead on taking the brakes off the immune system and creating a broader systemic anti-cancer response. While this approach has produced impressive results for individual patients, toxicity has been an issue and the majority of patients fail to generate a sufficiently strong immune response against the cancer.
The ImmTAC solution combines strong and specific targeting of cancer cells, with the potential for broad and potent immune activation, able to recruit and redirect a patient’s own T cells regardless of the T cells’ natural antigen specificity. The use of a TCR-based targeting system provides ImmTAC molecules with access to intracellular targets, a pool of potential targets that is up to nine-fold greater than that available to traditional antibody-based therapies.
The unique and potent mechanism of action provided by ImmTAC molecules means that they can tackle diverse tumour types including the most frequent solid, or “cold”, low mutation rate tumours. ImmTAC molecules have potential application in both monotherapy and combination settings, with the latter providing an opportunity for synergistic effects and enhanced patient outcomes.
The technology underpinning Immunocore’s proprietary ImmTAC platform is being further expanded to produce therapeutics to target viral diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B and bacterial diseases such as tuberculosis.