Cancer Research Technology - the commercial hub of Cancer Research UK - has entered into an agreement with Germany’s immatics biotechnologies under which it will test the latter’s brain cancer vaccine treatment IMA950 at sites across the country.

While there is little information available on IMA950 due to its early stage of development, it is known that the vaccine is being tested as a treatment for glioblastoma multiforme, one of the most common forms of brain cancer affecting 2,000 new patients in the UK every year, and that it is designed to “encourage” the body’s own immune system to recognise and kill cancer cells.

The Phase I trial, set to take place at four hospitals across the UK under the charity’s Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre network, will see up to 45 patients newly diagnosed with the condition given various doses of the vaccine alongside routine surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, to better assess whether it is able to stimulate natural defences to fight the disease.

“Although we’re still planning the trial and are not ready to recruit patients yet, it’s exciting to be working on a possible new way to treat glioma," remarked Professor Roy Rampling, who will lead the study at Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre at the University of Glasgow.

“This form of glioma is very difficult to treat successfully and we hope this trial will help to establish if the vaccine might offer another viable treatment option for people with this type of cancer,” added Victoria John, head of clinical partnerships at CR UK’s Drug Development Office.

CDP programme
The deal comes under CR UK’s ground-breaking Clinical Development Partnerships programme, a scheme that enables companies to hold onto their rights to promising candidates while the charity undertakes, and pays for, early assessment of their potential, in order to speed up the flow of new innovative cancer therapies coming onto the market.

As per the terms of such partnerships, on completion of the Phase I trial immatics can choose whether it wants to carry on developing the candidate and, if so, will make future payments to the charity in return for its early work on the product. However, should the firm decide not to continue clinical development rights for the candidate will automatically be passed to CRT so that it can seek an alternative partner for development instead.