Scancell Holdings plc, the Oxford Science Park-based developer of novel immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer and infectious disease, has raised £30 million from funds managed by US based specialist healthcare and life sciences investment firm Redmile Group LLC to broaden its development pipeline of new potential novel therapies and increase the funding available for the Company’s COVID-19 vaccine.
Scancell is developing novel immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer based on its technology platforms, ImmunoBody®, Moditope® and AvidiMabTM, with four products in multiple cancer indications and a vaccine in development for COVID-19.
In August, the company completed a fundraising of £15 million before expenses primarily to fund clinical trials and to strengthen the company’s balance sheet whilst it explored potential partnering discussions for its antibody technology.
The funding also enabled Scancell to continue the initial development of its COVID-19 vaccine until additional third party funding was secured. It has now been successful in securing a grant from Innovate UK which is expected to cover the majority of costs for the Phase 1 trial.
This project is being led by Professor Lindy Durrant, Chief Scientific Officer of Scancell and Professor of Cancer Immunotherapy at the University of Nottingham and Dr Sally Adams, Development Director at Scancell. The project is in collaboration with Prof Jonathan Ball in the newly-established Centre for Research on Global Virus Infections, Dr James Dixon in the new Biodiscovery Institute at the University of Nottingham, and Prof Graham Pockley at Nottingham Trent University.
Scancell’s DNA vaccines target dendritic cells to stimulate high avidity T cells that identify and destroy diseased cells. This technology has been successfully applied with Scancell’s lead ImmunoBody® cancer vaccine, SCIB1, which was safely administered to patients with malignant melanoma in a Phase 1/2 clinical trial with outstanding 5-year survival.
The Company’s aim is to use this proven technology platform to produce a simple, safe, cost-effective and scalable vaccine to provide long lasting immunity against COVID-19. With Scancell set to receive approximately £2 million of the consortium awarded funding, the company expects it to cover the majority of the development and Phase 1 trial costs.
Scancell’s DNA vaccine will target the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid (N) protein in addition to the key receptor- binding domain of the spike (S) protein to generate both T cell responses and VNAbs against the SARS-CoV- 2 virus. The N protein is highly conserved amongst coronaviruses; therefore, this new vaccine has the potential to generate protection not only against SARS-CoV-2, but also against new strains of coronavirus that may arise in the future.