Almac Discovery, a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and identifying innovative therapeutics for the treatment of cancer, and Elasmogen, a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of next generation biologics, announced that they have been awarded a grant from Innovate UK through its Innovation in Health and Life Sciences funding programme.
The £2 million (approximately €2,3 million) peer reviewed collaborative project entitled ‘A Technology Platform for Next Generation VNAR based Oncology Medicines’, plans to utilise the highly selective, high affinity and yet low molecular weight non-antibody VNAR protein scaffold and build a versatile platform to facilitate the discovery and development of targeted oncology therapeutics.
The VNAR structure allows ready access for protein engineering of multiple formats. These VNAR formats can be optimised, with or without conjugation of a cytotoxic payload, with further conversion to soloMER™ format, to become a first-in-class or best-in-class targeted therapeutic. The two year project optimises both target binding and selectivity, via the identification of novel epitopes and formats, approaches to linker design and payload attachments, and further builds upon the experimental data supporting the unique attributes of VNARs.
Almac first entered into an agreement with Elasmogen for the treatment of solid tumours in 2015. This new joint research programme broadens the collaborative work by combining Almac Discovery’s expertise in protein engineering and oncology drug discovery with Elasmogen’s expertise in the generation, screening and formatting of VNAR proteins.
Stephen Barr, President & Managing Director, Almac Discovery commented:
“We are delighted to have secured this highly sought after funding from Innovate UK to support this novel field of research which is testament to the novelty of the proposed approach and the quality of the underlying technologies involved. It is heartening to be able to continue and also broaden our successful collaboration with Elasmogen so that we may remain at the forefront of oncology discovery and ultimately benefit patients.”
Almac Discovery (a member of the Almac Group) is a research driven oncology company dedicated to the discovery and development of novel and innovative approaches to the treatment of cancer. Almac Discovery focuses on the discovery to preclinical stage seeking to licence programmes early with a pharmaceutical partner for further development. Almac Group, an established contract development and manufacturing organisation that provides an extensive range of integrated services to the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors globally, is headquartered in Craigavon, Northern Ireland with operations in the UK, Ireland, across the US (Pennsylvania, North Carolina and California) and in Asia (Singapore and Tokyo).
Spun-out from the University of Aberdeen (UK) in 2016, Elasmogen is developing soloMERs: fully humanized, next generation, single chain therapeutics for auto-inflammatory diseases, ophthalmology, oncology and intracellular delivery.