Notre Dame startup Structured Immunity and Medigene announce collaboration aimed at improving T cell receptor development

Author: Nick Swisher

Structured Immunity, a Notre Dame startup and biotechnology company specializing in the optimization and validation of T cell receptor (TCR) proteins, and Medigene AG, a leading biotechnology company engaged in the development of immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer, today announced a research collaboration where Structured Immunity will provide structural immunology expertise in support of Medigene’s TCR discovery activities. 

Under the terms of the agreement, Medigene will supply Structured Immunity with a lead TCR candidate for a high-profile solid tumor target. Structured Immunity will evaluate the TCR’s specificity and recognition properties using their established structural immunology technologies. 

The agreement has formally established the relationship between the two companies with a view to further partnerships and collaborative opportunities in the future. 

“We are delighted to begin this strategic collaboration with Medigene, a leader in immunotherapy, as together we aim to improve how lead TCR candidates are validated and optimized,” said David Hardwicke, co-founder and president at Structured Immunity. “We believe this partnership with Medigene will further showcase and validate our platform technology and demonstrate the value of structural immunology in TCR development.” 

The collaboration will also involve the expertise of the research laboratory of Brian Baker, Ph.D., professor of structural biology at the University of Notre Dame, as well as the advice and support of Notre Dame’s IDEA Center. 

“We would like to acknowledge Dr. Baker’s scientific input and thank the IDEA Center for their support in the development of Structured Immunity,” said Hardwicke.

Prof. Dolores Schendel, CEO and CSO of Medigene AG, said: “We are excited to start this new collaboration with Structured Immunity that will focus on the structural interactions between a TCR and the corresponding MHC-peptide complex. As the recognition site between these two complexes is relatively small, it is necessary to determine the exact binding affinities of target peptides. We are convinced that SI’s technology can help us to select optimal and highly efficacious TCRs that have the potential to further enhance the efficacy and safety of our approach to bring highly beneficial cellular therapies to the market.”

About Medigene’s TCR-Ts: The TCR-T technology aims at arming the patient’s own T cells with tumor-specific T-cell receptors. The receptor-modified T cells are then able to detect and efficiently kill tumor cells. This immunotherapy approach attempts to overcome the patient’s tolerance towards cancer cells and tumor-induced immunosuppression by activating and modifying the patient’s T cells outside the body (ex vivo).

TCR-T therapy is developed to utilize a higher number of potential tumor antigens than other T cell-based immunotherapies, such as chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) therapy. Medigene’s first clinical study with MDG1011 has started 2018 in AML, MM and MDS. The Company is establishing a pipeline of recombinant T-cell receptors and has a collaboration with bluebird bio, Inc. for the development of six TCR-Ts.

About Structured Immunity: Structured Immunity is a biotechnology company focused on accelerating and de-risking the development of TCR based therapeutics. With extensive expertise in structural and computational biology, Structured Immunity specializes in validating and optimizing TCR specificity. The company is actively forming partnerships with biopharmaceutical companies to enable improved validation and optimization of TCR proteins for safer, more effective therapeutic use. 

For more information, please visit http://structuredimmunity.com.

About Medigene: Medigene AG (FSE: MDG1, ISIN DE000A1X3W00, Prime Standard, TecDAX) is a publicly listed biotechnology company headquartered in Martinsried near Munich, Germany. The company is developing highly innovative immunotherapies to target various forms and stages of cancer. Medigene focuses on the development of personalized T cell-based therapies, with projects currently in preclinical and clinical development.

For more information, please visit http://medigene.com.

This press release contains forward-looking statements representing the opinion of Medigene as of the date of this release. The actual results achieved by Medigene may differ significantly from the forward-looking statements made herein. Medigene is not bound to update any of these forward-looking statements. Medigene® and Veregen® are registered trademarks of Medigene AG. These trademarks may be owned or licensed in select locations only.

Originally published by Nick Swisher at ideacenter.nd.edu on August 21, 2018.