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LSE:SCLP FRA:SCP

Scancell Holdings PLC

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Scancell is a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company which was founded in 1997 on research led by Professor Lindy Durrant at the University of Nottingham. The Company is operating at the forefront of immuno-oncology, an exciting field of cancer research which involves the development of immunotherapies to harness the body’s ability to generate and sustain an effective immune response against cancer.

The cancer immunotherapy market is one of the most rapidly growing markets within the biopharmaceutical industry, estimated to be worth USD100 billion by the year 2022. Immunotherapies are being evaluated in most cancer indications and their unrivalled efficacy and relatively low toxicity profile compared to chemotherapy is already leading to paradigm shifts in the treatment of many cancers. However, tumours often successfully evade the body’s own natural defence mechanism, the immune system, and not all patients are able to respond to checkpoint inhibitor-based immunotherapies. Therapeutic vaccines therefore have the potential to improve the proportion of patients who are able to benefit by initiating immune responses that convert unresponsive tumours, or so-called “cold” tumours, into “hot” ones.

The commercial potential of Scancell’s products will be defined by clinical data, either as monotherapies or in combination with checkpoint inhibitors, designed to provide increased and durable responses in patients without compromising safety and to address the unmet needs in hard to treat cancers. Scancell’s three technology platforms, ImmunoBody®, Moditope® and AvidiMab™, each offers a unique approach to cancer therapy to address all of these criteria.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded, Scancell has evaluated how it can best contribute its expertise and resources to help in the global response. Vaccines are the long-term solution and the company believes its combined high avidity T cell and neutralising antibody approach has the potential to produce a second-generation vaccine that will generate an effective and durable immune response to COVID-19. Scancell has therefore initiated its COVIDITY programme to develop a COVID-19 vaccine in collaboration with scientists at the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University.

Technology Overview

The treatment of many cancers is being revolutionised by immunotherapies such as the checkpoint inhibitors Keytruda® (Merck; pembrolizumab) and Opdivo® (Bristol-Myers Squibb; nivolumab). Although these therapies can improve the long-term survival of cancer patients, only a minority of patients with certain types of cancers respond and there is no benefit at all in patients with other types of cancers. The challenge to immuno-oncology is therefore to improve the proportion of patients that respond well to therapy.

Vaccination is a well-established method for the prevention of diseases and has proven to be particularly effective as a prophylactic treatment against many viruses. The development of cancer vaccines to treat cancer have been more challenging. The main goal is to increase the activity of the immune response against tumour cells and this requires the induction of high-avidity, cytotoxic T cells. This in turn requires the careful selection of cancer antigens or epitopes (short amino acid sequences that make up part of the protein) and an effective delivery mechanism.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, several groups have initiated programmes to produce a vaccine. The vast majority of these have focused on generating virus-neutralising antibodies (VNAbs) and not on stimulating high avidity T cell responses; importantly, the latter have been shown to correlate with mild disease in China. In contrast, our aim is to produce a simple, cost effective and scalable vaccine that gives durable T cell responses plus VNAbs, potentially conferring better protection in the long-term.

The first of Scancell’s technology platforms to be developed, ImmunoBody®, is designed to induce potent cytotoxic CD8 T cell responses against multiple epitopes via a unique dual-mechanism of action to stimulate a broad anti-tumour effect. They are DNA vaccines that encode a protein in the form of a modified antibody, which is engineered to express epitopes from a cancer antigen whilst retaining the ability to target activated antigen presenting cells in vivo. The potent immune responses induced by ImmunoBody® vaccines have been shown to result in long term survival in melanoma patients treated with Scancell’s first ImmunoBody® vaccine, SCIB1.

Scancell’s second platform, Moditope®, is a completely novel concept based on stress-induced post translational modifications (siPTMs). The technology exploits and harnesses the normal immune response that utilises cytotoxic CD4 T cells to eradicate stressed cells. Tumour cells are, by nature, stressed due to their rapid growth and lack of oxygen and nutrients. By identifying these stress-induced modifications, Scancell has been able to design modified peptide vaccines which induce potent T cells that seek and destroy tumour cells.

The Moditope® platform also provides a pathway for the potential development of CD4-based T cell receptor (TCR) therapies, whereby T cells recognising siPTMs could be utilised for adoptive cell transfer. With most of the current approaches focused on CD8-based TCRs, the ability to isolate CD4-TCRs recognising these novel cancer targets opens up a new window of opportunity for Scancell’s Moditope® technology.

Scancell‘s third platform focuses on anti-glycan antibodies that recognise and directly kill cancer cells without the need for involvement of the complement system or immune accessory cells. Glycans are co-accessory molecules involved in regulation of many physiological processes and inhibition of these leads to rapid cell death. They therefore represent ideal targets for novel cancer therapeutics as they are aberrantly over-expressed by tumours compared to normal tissues, and monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) binding to them results in tumour destruction. The platform includes Fc modification technology which produces antibodies that can self-associate upon target recognition and results in potent, high avidity mAbs. This technology (AvidiMab™) has been used to confer the direct killing ability of mouse anti-glycan antibodies to human antibodies and could be used to increase the efficacy of any antibody.

Scancell plans to use its proven cancer vaccine concept to design a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. We have designed a DNA vaccine to stimulate high avidity T cells and give durable responses, ultimately leading to better protection. In addition to the receptor binding domain of the spike protein, Scancell’s vaccine also targets the nucleoprotein, which is highly conserved amongst coronaviruses. This vaccine may therefore also confer protection against new emerging coronaviruses that may evolve in the future.

Product Pipeline

Scancell’s focus is to develop innovative immunotherapies for cancer using novel immunogenic antigens and modulation mechanisms that stimulate potent anti-tumour responses. The unique modes of action of the ImmunoBody® and Moditope® based products stimulate immune responses by presenting cancer antigens that trigger the activation of tumour-destroying T cells.  However, in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Scancell is employing its expertise and resources to help in the global response.

Based on the ImmunoBody® platform, SCIB1 targets melanoma antigens and a Phase 1/2 trial in advanced patients has successfully been completed, showing the regression of tumours and enhanced survival of patients with low tumour burden. The next stage of clinical development for SCIB1 is to determine whether treatment of metastatic melanoma patients also receiving Keytruda® (pembrolizumab) results in an improvement in their overall response rate and survival.

The second ImmunoBody® product is SCIB2, which is the subject of a co-development programme with Cancer Research UK focusing on non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Modi-1 is the first Moditope® vaccine and includes citrullinated peptides derived from the cytoskeletal protein vimentin and the glycolytic enzyme, α-enolase. Preclinical studies are underway prior to initiation of the first-in-human Phase 1/2 study to evaluate safety and efficacy in patients with advanced solid tumours, such as head & neck, triple negative breast, ovarian and renal cancers.

Modi-2 broadens the Moditope® platform to include a second stress-induced post-translational modification (siPTM), homocitrullination. Characterisation of lead homocitrullinated antigens will precede selection of specific peptides for inclusion in the Modi-2 clinical product.

In addition, the Moditope® antigens are the basis of a collaboration with BioNTech (Mainz, Germany) to clone and characterise T cell receptors against Modi-1 specific epitopes.

Scancell’s acquisition of a technology platform to produce high affinity, direct killing, anti-glycan monoclonal antibodies (AvidiMab™), offers a new opportunity for collaboration and commercial transactions with antibody engineering companies looking for differentiated therapeutic targets.

In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Scancell has initiated a research programme to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 in collaboration with scientists in the newly established Centre for Research on Global Virus Infections and the new Biodiscovery Institute at the University of Nottingham, and Nottingham Trent University.

United kingdom

Board of Directors

Dr John Chiplin - Chairman

John has many years’ international experience in listed life science companies where he has fulfilled the roles of Chief Executive Officer and Chairman. He is Managing Director of Newstar Ventures Ltd, an investment and advisory firm and contributes strong corporate finance skills to the Group. John is also Chairman of N4 Pharma PLC, an AIM listed company and serves on the board of an Australian listed company, Regeneus Limited.

Dr Cliff Holloway - Chief Executive Officer

Cliff brings over 25 years of life science industry experience to Scancell in the development and commercialisation of emerging technologies and therapeutic products including licensing, M&A, corporate financing and operations management. Prior to joining Scancell, Cliff was Chief Business and Operating Officer for Benitec Biopharma, an Australian NASDAQ listed company.

Professor Lindy Durrant -Chief Scientific Officer

Lindy is an internationally recognised immunologist in the field of tumour therapy and co-founder of Scancell. She has worked for over 25 years in translational research, developing products for clinical trials including monoclonal antibodies and cancer vaccines. She has a personal Chair in Cancer Immunotherapy in the Department of Clinical Oncology at the University of Nottingham.

Dr Sally Adams - Development Director

Sally has worked on many complex projects over the past 25 years including anti-infective vaccines and cancer immunotherapies. She has previously held Development Director positions in life science companies and, prior to her appointment as Development Director at Scancell, she worked as a development consultant to Scancell providing guidance on the development of SCIB1.

Dr Richard Goodfellow - Non-Executive Director

Richard joined Scancell as a co-founder and was CEO until December 2017. He has many years’ experience with Scancell and in life sciences generally which he brings to the Board. As well as contributing to the Board, Richard provides business development advice and consulting services to Scancell.

Dr Alan Lewis - Non-Executive Director

Alan has a proven track record in the US life sciences industry. He is currently President and CEO of DiaVacs, a San Diego based clinical stage biotechnology company and is also on the Board of Directors of NASDAQ listed companies Biomarin and Assembly Biosciences. He also currently serves as Chairman of the Boards of Batu Biologics Inc. and Neurometrix Rx (US), both US private biotechnology companies, and is a director of two other private biotechnology companies based in the USA: Cellastra Inc. and Targazyme, Inc.

Martin Diggle - Non-Executive Director

Martin is a founder, director and partner of Vulpes Investment Management, which manages a number of funds including the Vulpes Life Sciences Fund. He has over 30 years’ experience in investment banking and fund management, and has been an investor in life sciences and biotech for nearly 20 years. Martin’s other directorships are Oxford Biomedica plc, Proteome Sciences plc and Chronos Therapeutics Limited.

Dr Ursula Ney - Non-Executive Director

Dr Ney has over thirty years’ experience in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry, including twenty years in senior leadership roles that also encompassed Executive and Non-Executive Board positions. She has broad experience of biologic and small molecule drug development across a range of therapeutic areas having been Director of Drug Development and on the Board of Celltech plc and later Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director of Antisoma plc. Most recently, she was Chief Executive Officer of Genkyotex SA. She was a on the board of Discuva Ltd and is currently a Non-Executive Director of Proteome Sciences plc and also a member of the Board of Governors of the University of Plymouth.

Management

Keith Green - Director of Finance & Administration

Keith trained and qualified as a chartered accountant with Peat Marwick (now KPMG). He has taken on many consultancy and interim finance roles for private and AIM listed companies in the life sciences sector. Keith started working for Scancell on a part-time basis in January 2010 and took up a full-time role in September 2016.

Dr Samantha Paston - Head of Research

Samantha joined Scancell from Immunocore where she held several positions including Head of T Cell Cloning and Group Leader. While at Immunocore, Samantha was responsible for the generation of the in house T cell cloning method and biological molecule discovery which made significant contributions to the current Immunocore oncology pipeline. Prior to this, Samantha held a number of positions at Medigene, Avidex, NIBSC and GSK. Samantha holds a PhD from University College London in Immunology/Haematology, following an BSc Honours Degree in Microbiology from the University of Sheffield.

Dr Adrian Parry - Head of Manufacturing

Adrian joined Scancell from Mereo BioPharma where he was Head of Small Molecule CMC (Chemistry, Manufacturing and Controls), managing outsourced GMP manufacturing activities. Prior to this, Adrian was New Product Development Director at Juniper Pharmaceuticals  and has previously held further CMC positions at Circassia, Shire Pharmaceuticals, Prosidion, Evotec and OSI Pharmaceuticals, totalling 20 years of development expertise including the delivery of multiple, complex GMP drug products. Adrian holds a PhD in Physical Organic/Analytical Chemistry from The Open University, following a MSc in Advanced Analytical Chemistry from the University of Bristol.

 

Address

Scancell Limited
John Eccles House
Robert Robinson Avenue
Oxford Science Park
Oxford
OX4 4GP
UK

T - +44 (0) 1865 338 069

Nominated advisor and broker:
Panmure Gordon and Co
One New Change
London
EC4M 9AF

Nominated advisor and broker:
Panmure Gordon and Co
One New Change
London
EC4M 9AF

As at 13 August 2020 the identity and percentage holdings of significant shareholders were: 

Company registered address and number:

John Eccles House 
Robert Robinson Avenue
Oxford Science Park 
Oxford
OX4 4GP
Company registration number: 06564638(England and Wales)

Registrar:
SLC Registrars
Elder House
St George's Business Park
Weybridge
Surrey
KT13 0TS
Telephone +44 (0)1903 706 150 
Fax +44 (0)333 207 6354

Nominated advisor and Broker:
Panmure Gordon and Co
One New Change
London
EC4M 9AF

Auditor:
BDO LLP
Level 12
Thames Tower
Station Road
Reading RG1 1LX

Solicitor:
Cooley (UK) LLP
Dashwood
69 Old Broad Street
London
EC2M 1QS