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Syncona portfolio firm Achilles doses first patient in T cell therapy trial

By Josh White

Date: Friday 29 May 2020

Syncona portfolio firm Achilles doses first patient in T cell therapy trial

(Sharecast News) - Syncona announced on Friday that its portfolio company, Achilles Therapeutics, has dosed the first patient in a phase 1 and 2 clinical study of its clonal neoantigen T cell (cNeT) therapy, in patients with recurrent or metastatic malignant melanoma.

The FTSE 250 firm said the tumour-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) therapy had been designed to target clonal neoantigens, believed to be present in all tumour cells, and was the first of its kind to enter clinical trials.

It said Achilles is developing personalised T cell therapies that target clonal neoantigens - the protein markers on the surface of all cancer cells that are unique from patient to patient.

With the use of its bioinformatics platform 'PELEUS', and its proprietary 'TRACERx' data set derived from cancer patients over many years, Syncona said Achilles could identify a patient's unique tumour profile and manufacture bespoke T cells called cNeTs that look to target and destroy tumours without harming healthy tissue.

The study is an open-label, multi-centre, single-dose phase 1 and 2 trial designed to evaluate the safety, tolerability and clinical efficacy of cNeT therapy in patients with recurrent or metastatic malignant melanoma, for which there are limited treatment options.

It said the trial, known as the 'THETIS' study, expects to recruit around 20 patients and to report initial data in the first half of 2021.

"This is the first TIL therapy to enter clinical trials that is specifically designed to target all cancer cells, and that represents an exciting prospect for science and for patients," said Martin Murphy, chief executive officer of Syncona Investment Management and non-executive director of Achilles Therapeutics.

"Importantly, today's news demonstrates Achilles' capability to manufacture an entirely personalised T cell therapy, and therefore its potential to deliver a commercially viable therapy that could dramatically improve patient outcomes.

"This is what motivates the Syncona team, it's why we founded Achilles in 2016 and its why we remain an enthusiastic and engaged supporter of the business."

At 0814 BST, shares in Syncona were up 0.49% at 205.5p.


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