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Funding and Impact - III

Impact on healthcare

The formation of Catapult Therapy TCR Ltd by a university/biotech partnership has enabled researchers to bridge the ‘translational gap’ between science and therapeutic innovation. The result was last year the first patient was treated in a phase I/II trial of a novel T-cell therapy targeting disorders associated with overexpression of WT-1 antigen, such as acute myeloid leukaemia and myelodysplastic syndrome. The treatment was devised by Professor Hans Stauss while at Imperial College, and subsequently developed at UCL in collaboration with Dr Emma Morris.

The biopharmaceutical spin out company Autolus has been formed to develop and commercialise engineered T-cells for cancer immunotherapy. Founded on work by Dr Martin Pule, Autolus will develop next-generation engineered CAR T-cell products for treatment of both haematological and solid cancers. Initial clinical trials of CAR T-cells in B-cell malignancies, suggest that this approach may transform treatments of patients, many of whom have no other therapeutic options.

The BioAid project is a cross- BRC collaboration with Imperial and Kings which aims to create a registry of 5-10k adults presenting with infectious disease, and link clinical phenotype and microbiological data to host DNA, RNA and plasma biobanking. By evaluating the usefulness of genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic analysis, the aim is to identify and validate novel biomarkers for clinical use within the next five years.

Dr Andrew Williams and Professor Rachel Chambers have set up a laboratory within Stevenage BioScience Catalyst. Their project “Targeting CCL7 in acute lung injury”, which is one of three BRC funded projects to go into the open innovation campus, aims to develop a novel therapeutic monoclonal antibody to treat inflammatory lung disease. Based at Stevenage, the investigators have been able to work closely with the pharmaceutical industry and enter a partnership with industry for the development of monoclonal antibodies with the desired therapeutic properties.