GlaxoSmithKline has selected a third target in its collaboration with Oxford, UK-based Immunocore to discover multiple novel targets in cancer not addressable with antibody-based technologies.

The deal will see Immunocore generate a novel ImmTAC molecule - belonging to a new class of agents with ultra-high affinity for intracellular cancer targets, which enable the immune system to recognise and kill cancerous or bacterially/virally infected cells - against the selected target which is “relevant in multiple cancers”.

The programme is the third to be initiated as part of the discovery pact signed back in 2013 to develop novel biologics to treat cancer and viral disease.

“ImmTAC molecules are relevant across a wide range of cancer types and have the ability to tackle solid ‘cold’, low mutation rate tumours - the majority of tumours which are difficult for other immuno-oncology drugs to address. We look forward to beginning work on this additional programme with GSK in oncology,” said Dr Bent Jakobsen, chief scientific officer at Immunocore.

“ImmTAC molecules have great potential among the third generation of immuno-oncology agents and we look forward to seeing this promising programme progress,” added Dr Axel Hoos, R&D head, Immuno-Oncology, GSK.

Immunocore is currently working on two other ImmTACs under the agreement, with the lead project on track for an Investigational New Drug (IND) this year with potential application in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), bladder cancer, synovial sarcoma, melanoma and ovarian cancer.