The new private company will bring together research from UCL (University College London) and the Francis Crick Institute, funded by Cancer Research UK and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), to design therapies to target truncal tumour neo-antigens.
Truncal tumour neo-antigens are unique flags to the immune system present on the surface of every cancer cell, which were first discovered by Cancer Research UK and the NIHR University College London Hospitals (UCLH) Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) funded scientists at the Francis Crick Institute and UCL Cancer Institute.
CRT will receive equity milestones and royalties from products developed and commercialized by Achilles Therapeutics. Any such financial reward from the company will be shared with UCLB and the Crick. Achilles has exclusive rights to develop and commercialize neo-antigen technologies arising from Cancer Research UK’s £14million TRACERx, a clinical study involving 850 people with non-small cell lung cancer, which tracks the evolution of patients’ cancers over time, in different parts of their tumours and in response to treatment.
The company founders are:
– Professor Charles Swanton, Group Leader and Royal Society Napier Professor at the Francis Crick and UCL Cancer Institute working on cancer evolution and genome instability and a consultant at UCLH
– Professor Karl Peggs, Group Leader of the Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Immunotherapy Group at UCL Cancer Institute and a consultant at UCLH
– Dr Sergio Quezada, Group Leader of the Immune Regulation and Tumour Immunotherapy Group at UCL Cancer Institute
Professor Mark Lowdell, Director of the Centre for Cell, Gene & Tissue Therapeutics at the Royal Free Hospital.