One of the greatest challenges in immunotherapy is the identification of new and safe target antigens. Antibody-based therapies, including checkpoint inhibitors, antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), bispecifics and CAR T cells, recognise cell surface antigens, which only account for around 10% of potential disease targets.
Immunocore’s approach is based on an engineered T cell receptor (TCR)- based targeting system. TCRs are naturally optimised to recognise intracellular antigens presented on the cell surface as peptide-HLA complexes (pHLA). Since the majority of antigens are intracellular, ImmTAC molecules have access to in the order of nine-fold more targets than antibody-based therapies and potentially a greater number of disease-specific, and therefore safer, targets.
Through a comprehensive target discovery and validation process, incorporating state of the art mass spectrometry, Immunocore has created an expanding portfolio of fully-validated targets to address a broad spectrum of cancer indications, including solid tumours as well as infectious and autoimmune diseases.