Milton Park companies leading the fight on cancer
Published on 03 February 2023
World Cancer Day is 4 February and with this year’s theme of ‘close the care gap’ in mind, we’re shining a light on just a few of the companies at Milton Park that specialise in the development and discovery of cancer therapies and patient care – ambitious and innovative in their quest to improve and save the lives of people affected across the globe.
Adaptimmune is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of novel immunotherapy products for cancer. Its mission and vision is to transform the lives of people with cancer by designing, delivering, and developing cell therapies.
The company is on the verge of filing for its first product approval with a cell therapy that treats a rare cancer called synovial sarcoma. It has also reported compelling clinical data in ovarian, bladder, and head & neck cancers with more than half the patients with these cancers responding to their therapy.
The company has clinical trials of its SPEAR (Specific Peptide Enhanced Affinity Receptor) T cell therapies across multiple solid tumours and will continue to drive towards marketed products for people with cancer. Adaptimmune is a fully integrated cell therapy company, which is a key driver of its innovation, with research and manufacturing sites in the UK and the US.
Grey Wolf Therapeutics
Based at Milton Park’s Innovation Centre, Grey Wolf Therapeutics is a drug discovery and development company committed to delivering next generation oncology therapies by generating novel immune responses against cancerous tumours.
Together with ThirtyFiveBio and Milton Park-based Pathios Therapeutics (see below), it’s part of a drug development ecosystem called M:M Bio – set up to help companies achieve scientific, clinical and commercial success. Here, the companies are able to work closely with a wide network of approximately 150 partners, supporting accelerated drug discovery programmes to improve the lives of patients.
In January 2023, Grey Wolf secured $49 million of funding (series B) from a group of life science industry investors led by Pfizer Ventures and Earlybird Venture Capital to advance its pioneering neoantigen creation approaches.
Since its spin-out from the University of Oxford in 2008, Immunocore has evolved into a global, pioneering, commercial-stage TCR biotechnology company. It specialises in the development and commercialisation of a new generation of transformative medicines to combat cancer, infection and autoimmune diseases.
With oncology as its initial therapeutic focus, the company has a robust pipeline of programmes seeking to combat a range of cancer indications and pivotal clinical trials that are underway for the treatment of a rare form of eye cancer.
In 2022, Immunocore achieved huge global success with European Commission and United States FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approval for its first medicine based on its clinical trial data, paving the way for itself to become the first ever company to launch a TCR therapeutic in the commercial market.
Dr Bahija Jallal, CEO at Immunocore, explains more: “The FDA and European Commission approvals served as important validation processes for our pioneering technology, and we are now seeking to build upon these successes.
“The approvals and launch of our TCR therapy will stand us in great stead to explore further breakthrough discoveries in the biotechnology field.”
Visit our Immunocore company spotlight feature to find out more.
Ipsen is a global biopharmaceutical company with a mission to improve lives and health outcomes through its three key therapeutic areas of oncology, rare disease and neuroscience.
With its national R&D hub operating from Milton Park, the site plays a critical role in driving forward ambitious experimental science and innovation for the company and last year was recognised as one of the best workplaces in the UK by Great Place to Work.
Alongside Ipsen’s commitment to fostering solutions for the most difficult-to-treat cancers, in 2022 it sponsored the British Liver Trust’s Love Your Liver roadshow at Milton Park during Liver Cancer Awareness Month in 2022. The roadshow enabled almost 100 people across the Park to receive free advice on diet, exercise and wellness from healthcare professionals while also providing scans to assess their liver health.
John Chaddock, VP Head of REED Operations and Site Head for Milton Park at Ipsen, said: “It was wonderful to have the fabulous team from the British Liver Trust and its mobile bus available for Milton Park-based personnel.
“Many of our team had their livers scanned and received valuable information on the importance of a healthy diet and exercise in maintaining a healthy liver.”
John has been featured as part of our regular Park People series. To learn more about what he does and why he enjoys working at Milton Park, visit his Park People feature.
Pathios Therapeutics is a drug discovery and development company focused on translating innovative science into the creation of new medicines.
The company’s pioneering approach to cancer treatment involves developing specialised inhibitor molecules that enable an effective immune response against solid cancerous tumours.
In 2022, Pathios was invited to present its work at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual meeting, marking the significance of its pioneering work in this sector.
Stuart Hughes, CEO at Pathios Therapeutics, explains more: “It was a huge honour for us to be selected to speak at AACR 2022 and share our innovative work on cancer therapies with others in the sector.
“It was a great endorsement of all the hard work our employees do at Pathios Therapeutics and how we plan to change lives for the better with our science.”
Find out more by taking a look at our company spotlight feature.