IGEM Therapeutics has received a £750,000 grant from Innovate UK Biomedical Catalyst Primer Award.

The company will use the funding to develop its novel IgE antibodies targeting HER2, a commercially validated cancer antigen expressed on a variety of tumour types including breast, ovarian and gastric cancer.

Dr Tim Wilson, chief executive officer of IGEM, commented: “IGEM is a pioneer in the use of IgE antibodies to treat cancer. We are very pleased to have been awarded our second grant from Innovate UK. Our goal is to harness the potency of the IgE-mediated immune response and thereby provide patients with new safe and effective treatment options for these serious diseases”.

The funding was awarded due do unmet needs, as currently marketed anti-HER2 IgG antibodies are only able to treat patients with cancers expressing high levels of HER2 antigen, whereas the majority of HER2 positive patients have cancers expressing intermediate or low levels of HER2 and cannot be treated with anti-HER2 IgG antibodies. Because of this, IGEM is developing the novel, human IgE antibodies that bind to HER2.

Pre-clinical studies in the laboratory of IGEM Founder Dr Sophia Karagiannis at King’s College London have already demonstrated superior efficacy with a number of IgE antibodies when compared to their IgG equivalents. IgE has evolved to kill tissue-dwelling multicellular parasites endowing it with several key features that make it ideal for the treatment of solid tumours.

The company is also developing anti-cancer IgE antibodies targeting folate receptor alpha and CSPG-4.