AstraZeneca to collaborate with Alchemab on prostate cancer research

pharmafile | May 6, 2021 | News story | |  AstraZeneca, prostate cancer 

AstraZeneca have announced a new collaboration with Cambridge-based biotech company Alchemab, with the aim of accelerating prostate cancer research.

Alchemab and AstraZeneca will work together on a proof-of-concept study to build understanding of the fundamental biology of prostate cancer, with Alchemab’s novel drug discovery platform being used as a diagnostic tool through the identification of disease biomarkers with potential to inform the development of novel antibody-based therapeutics.

Under the agreement, Alchemab will sequence and explore antibody repertoires in patient samples gathered from a clinical trial of an undisclosed immuno-oncology agent within AstraZeneca’s pipeline.

The collaboration aims to identify novel, disease-relevant antibodies which may yield therapeutic insights into the currently unknown biology of prostate cancer. Alchemab said in a statement that this could permit direct biotherapeutic development of a protective antibody or enable drug discovery against a novel disease target.

Dr Jane Osbourn, CSO at Alchemab, said: “Our collaboration with AstraZeneca is a great opportunity to showcase Alchemab’s novel technology, not only as a drug discovery engine for new therapeutics but also as a potential diagnostic tool.

“By working together to understand each patient’s natural immunity, we anticipate that we will be able to build our understanding of prostate cancer disease biology and potentially deliver novel therapeutic options for patients with critical unmet need.

“We look forward to seeing the results of this collaboration and to apply our technology in future collaborations for other hard-to-treat diseases.”

Through their platform, Alchemab may also be able to identify antibody sequence patterns that could be used as biomarkers for early detection and patient stratification by classifying patients into two groups – responders and non-responders.

Prostate cancer is the second most frequent cancer diagnosis made in men, and the fifth leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for 1.4 million, or 7.3% of all new cancer cases every year globally.

Kat Jenkins

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