Cancer Research Technology, Cancer Research UK’s commercial arm, Tusk Therapeutics, an immuno-oncology company, and UCL (University College London) have signed a licence and collaboration agreement to research, develop and commercialise an antibody-based therapeutic against a target that plays a key role in immune suppression in cancer.
Under the terms of the agreement, Tusk Therapeutics will receive an exclusive world-wide licence from CRT to develop and commercialise therapeutic antibodies against the target, originating from the Cancer Research UK-funded research of Dr Sergio Quezada and Professor Karl Peggs at UCL. In return, CRT will receive an upfront payment, future success-based milestones and royalty payments, which will be shared with UCL.
Tusk Therapeutics has additionally entered into a three-year collaboration with CRT and UCL to part-fund a programme of preclinical work, led by Dr Quezada, to evaluate candidate antibodies in various cancer models prior to initiation of formal preclinical and clinical development. At the end of the collaboration, Tusk Therapeutics will assume responsibility for accelerating the progress of selected antibody candidates into the clinic.
Dr Quezada said: “It is extremely exciting seeing years of preclinical work move closer to a potential real therapy for patients. We are extremely happy with the work we are and will continue doing with the Tusk Therapeutics’ team.”
Luc Dochez, CEO of Tusk Therapeutics, said: “We are proud to work together with Cancer Research UK and the group of Dr Quezada. The collaboration fits Tusk’s strategy of working with top researchers in the immune-oncology field and to bring promising assets from early stage discovery through development and to the clinic.”
Dr Phil L’Huillier, CRT’s director of business management, said: “This collaboration brings together Cancer Research UK’s and UCL’s world-leading immune-oncology expertise with Tusk Therapeutics’ growing industry reputation for developing promising immune-modulating antibodies. It’s one of several projects now in our portfolio focused on the up-and-coming field of immune-oncology that we hope will accelerate progress towards exciting new treatments for cancer patients.”