Abingdon biotech company Immunocore has entered into a co-discovery and co-development agreement to research and potentially develop new T cell-based cancer therapies with Eli Lilly, a global pharmaceutical company headquartered in Indianapolis, USA.
Immunocore, a long standing client of Penningtons Manches LLP, was advised by commercial and IP partner Kerry Sharp, a member of the firm’s award-winning life sciences practice who has now acted for the company on four successive deals.
Under the terms of the agreement, Immunocore will receive an upfront fee of $15 million per programme for the discovery of novel Immune Mobilising Monoclonal T-Cell Receptor Against Cancer (ImmTACs) against jointly selected cancer targets in order to generate preclinical candidate packages. If Lilly accepts a preclinical candidate package to develop and potentially commercialise, Immunocore will receive an opt-in fee of $10 million per programme and will have an option to continue co-development with Lilly on a cost-sharing and profit-sharing basis. If Immunocore does not exercise its option, it will be entitled to potential future significant milestone and royalty payments.
Using Immunocore’s ImmTAC technology, the companies will seek to use the power of the body’s own immune system to attack cancer cells. ImmTACs have shown potential to direct a patient’s T cells to specifically target the cancerous cells, avoiding damage to healthy cells.
Eva-Lotta Allan, chief business officer, Immunocore, said: “Lilly is a leading oncology player and we are delighted to advance novel T cell-based therapies into the clinic in close collaboration with them. Once again, Kerry Sharp and the Penningtons Manches team have supported and guided us through to execution of this collaboration agreement with Lilly. Kerry works hard to protect Immunocore’s interests and has provided excellent support throughout.”
Founded in 2008, Immunocore is a privately owned, clinical-stage biotechnology company developing a highly innovative platform technology that generates novel drugs for the treatment of cancer and viral infection. Immunocore traces its roots to Avidex, founded in 1999 as a spin-out from the University of Oxford.
Immunocore has major discovery collaborations ongoing with leading pharmaceutical companies MedImmune, the biologics division of AstraZeneca, Genentech, GlaxoSmithKline, and Lilly. The company was listed in the top 15 private biotech firms globally for 2013 by Fierce Biotech and named Best Biotech Dealmaker of 2013 at the OBN Awards. Immunocore has over 120 staff and is located in Abingdon.