Cambridge-based biotech company Alchemab has announced a new collaboration with British pharma AstraZeneca (AZ),  aiming to accelerate research for prostate cancer.

As part of the collaboration, Alchemab and AZ will collaborate on a proof-of-concept study to improve understanding of the ‘fundamental biology’ of prostate cancer.

Alchemab will utilise its novel drug discovery platform as a diagnostic tool through the identification of disease biomarkers, with the potential to inform the development of new antibody-based medications.

Under the agreement, Alchemab will sequence and explore antibody repertoires in patient samples gathered from a clinical trial of an undisclosed immuno-oncology agent within AZ’s pipeline.

Alchemab may also be able to identify antibody sequence patterns that could be used as biomarkers for early detection and patient stratification by classifying patients into two groups – responders and non-responders.

The overall purpose of the collaboration is to identify novel and disease-relevant antibodies which may generate therapeutic insights into the ‘currently unknown’ disease biology of prostate cancer.

“Our collaboration with AstraZeneca is a great opportunity to showcase Alchemab’s novel technology, not only as a drug discovery engine for new therapeutics but also as a potential diagnostic tool,” said Jane Osbourn, chief scientific officer of Alchemab.

“By working together to understand each patient’s natural immunity, we anticipate that we will be able to build our understanding of prostate cancer disease biology and potentially deliver novel therapeutic options for patients with critical unmet need. We look forward to seeing the results of this collaboration and to apply our technology in future collaborations for other hard-to-treat diseases,” she added.