Saturday, June 15, 2024

LIfT BioSciences Awarded Innovate UK Grant to Accelerate Product Development of New IMAN Cell Therapy Variants

LIfT BioSciences, a rapidly emerging biotech company about to start clinical trials for its first-in-class allogeneic innate cell therapy, announces it has been awarded a grant of over one million pounds from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency. The grant will enable LIfT to show for the first time, how its immunomodulatory alpha neutrophils (IMANs) recruit immune cells in vivo to attack tumours using a new type of translational humanised mouse model suitable for human neutrophils. The new in vivo model will enable LIfT to rapidly assess the potential of different, new, product variants, tumour types and combination therapies prior to putting them into path to the clinic, thereby accelerating the development of LIfT’s IMAN cell therapy pipeline for the treatment of solid tumours and auto-immune disease.

The Innovate UK grant will fund a unique, world-class industry-academia collaboration between LIfT Biosciences and the world-leading Saeb-Parsy Lab (SPL) at the University of Cambridge, with the aim of investigating the impact of LIfT’s IMAN cell therapies in solid tumour and immunology indications using the cutting-edge humanised in vivo model systems developed at SPL.

SPL has developed and optimized cutting-edge tumour-bearing humanised mice which are essential for true modelling of IMAN safety and efficacy. Data generated from this collaboration will be integral for the better understanding of the mechanism of action (MoA) of IMANs and its potential for combination approaches in solid tumours and immunology, enabling LIfT to investigate its immunomodulatory and cytotoxic mechanisms.

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IMANs’ ability to modulate the hostile solid tumour microenvironment (TME) is fundamental to their MoA. Standard in vivo tumour models in immunodeficient mice lack the necessary human immune system components to investigate recipient immunomodulation, underplaying the effectiveness of cell therapy modalities by only assaying direct cytotoxicity. SPL’s humanised models use xenografted patient-derived tumour material (PDX), which allows a closer approximation of tumour architecture and component subsets that comprise the solid TME, more closely representing the modelling of the TME as would be encountered during human clinical trials. Of particular interest is how IMANs recruit and activate T-Cells and NK cells, and work with monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) on the Antibody-Dependent Cellular Cytotoxicity (ADCC) pathway to deliver antitumor antibody efficacy through lethal trogocytosis.

Alex Blyth, Chief Executive Officer of LIfT BioSciences, commented: “The awarding of this grant from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, is an exciting step that will help expedite our pipeline of new products and their combinations into the clinic and will improve outcomes through the foresight it provides. Current standard mouse models do not have the right chemokines and growth factors to support human neutrophils optimally. Tumour-bearing humanised mice that have been adapted to support human neutrophils are therefore very useful for more accurate modelling of the effects of neutrophils for early insights into what we might see in human trials. We will now conduct groundbreaking in vivo studies to explore the impact of IMAN cell therapies in solid tumour and immunology models uniquely available at the Saeb-Parsy Lab.”

Kourosh Saeb-Parsy, Professor of Transplantation at the Department of Surgery at University of Cambridge, commented: “LIfT’s IMANs have a unique multimodal mechanism of action which suggests they have the potential to overcome the limitations of current immunotherapies in solid tumours.  Our group has developed and optimized cutting-edge humanised in vivo solid tumour models which are particularly suited for investigation of therapeutics with immunomodulatory properties, such as IMANs.  We are very excited to be working with LIfT on this project and are grateful for this funding from Innovate UK.”

LIfT is developing its ground-breaking patented IMAN product as an allogeneic cell therapy for the treatment of solid tumours. IMANs have the capacity to directly kill tumour cells in an innate antigen-independent manner while recruiting and immunomodulating host immune effector cells such as T cells and NK cells, to give a durable response and long-lasting anti-tumour immunity. LIfT’s IMANs are generated using LIfT’s proprietary Neutrophil-based Leukocyte Infusion Therapy (N-LIfT) platform, with future iPSC-derived and gene engineered products in the pipeline.

SOURCE: GlobeNewswire

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