“Immunotherapy has revolutionized cancer treatment, providing survival benefits to patients with hard-to-treat tumors. There is an increasing call for personalized, precision therapies to induce immune responses against tumor-specific targets,” said Dr Sergio Quezada, Chief Scientific Officer of Achilles. “This grant is a further validation of the work being done at Achilles by our team of world-class scientists. The contribution of our deep experience with neoantigen prediction algorithms and our innovative platform technology will allow the consortium to work toward identifying new immunotherapeutic targets and effective anticancer therapies.”
Current technologies struggle to discriminate immunogenic tumor neoantigens from the thousands of background mutations in tumors at scale. The consortium will work together to develop a high throughput neoantigen immunogenicity profiling platform. The project, named DECOD-Ag, will be conducted by a team of world-leading, interdisciplinary scientists from the consortium with expertise in cancer immunotherapy, bioinformatics, peptidomics, mass spectrometry, immune monitoring, clinical and translational medicine.
This project has received €3 million ($3.6 million) from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the FETOPEN grant agreement number 964998. Approximately €0.8 million ($1 million) will be allocated to Achilles.
Achilles is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing precision T cell therapies targeting clonal neoantigens: protein markers unique to the individual that are expressed on the surface of every cancer cell. The Company has two ongoing Phase I/IIa trials, the CHIRON trial in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and the THETIS trial in patients with recurrent or metastatic melanoma. Achilles uses DNA sequencing data from each patient, together with its proprietary PELEUS™ bioinformatics platform, to identify clonal neoantigens specific to that patient, and then develop precision T cell-based product candidates specifically targeting those clonal neoantigens.
UCL is London's leading multidisciplinary university, with more than 13,000 staff and 42,000 students from 150 different countries. Through a progressive approach to teaching and research, our world leading academics, curious students and outstanding staff continually pursue excellence, break boundaries, and make an impact on real world problems. UCL is consistently ranked as one of the top performing organisations worldwide under the EU Framework Programmes for research.
The Francis Crick Institute
The Francis Crick Institute is a biomedical research institute located in London, UK. The Institute’s ambition is to discover the fundamental biology underlying human health and diseases. The Institute's work helps to understand why disease develops and to find new ways to diagnose, prevent and treat a range of illnesses − such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, infections and neurodegenerative diseases. The Institute brings together outstanding scientists from all disciplines, carrying out research that will help improve the health and quality of people's lives, and keep the UK at the forefront of medical innovation.
The Weizmann Institute of Science
The Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel is one of the world’s top-ranking multidisciplinary research institutions and offers masters’ and doctoral-level degrees across five faculties, noted for its wide-ranging exploration of the natural and exact sciences. Institute scientists are advancing research on the human brain, artificial intelligence, computer science and encryption, astrophysics and particle physics, and they are tackling diseases such as cancer, and addressing climate change through environmental, ocean and plant sciences, and more.
Technical University of Denmark
DTU was founded in 1829 with the mission of creating value for the benefit of society. DTU is an international elite technical university where education, scientific advice, and innovation rest on a solid foundation of world-class research. The University is at the academic and multidisciplinary forefront of the technical and the natural sciences - with new initiatives in a number of demanding engineering disciplines such as life science.
By coupling research and innovation, Horizon 2020 is helping to achieve this with its emphasis on excellent science, industrial leadership and tackling societal challenges. The goal is to ensure Europe produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in delivering innovation.
For further information please visit: https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/.
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Lee M. Stern – VP, IR & External Communications
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Consilium Strategic Communications
Mary-Jane Elliott, Sukaina Virji, Melissa Gardiner
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