Preclinical contract research organisation (CRO) Aquila BioMedical has secured an extended agreement to support UK-based biotech firm Macrophage Pharma’s preclinical immuno-oncology programmes.

Aquila is now part of Concept Life Sciences group.

The Esterase Sensitive Motif (ESM) technology of Macrophage Pharma enables delivery of new, small molecule drug candidates to tumour-associated macrophages in a selective manner so as to reverse immunosuppression established in the tumour microenvironment.

It may also progress to provide a new immunotherapy with broad utility in oncology.

Aquila BioMedical chief operating officer Clare Doris said: “We are delighted to announce our partnership with Macrophage Pharma.

“Our specialist immuno-oncology and multiplex histology capabilities are designed to enable our clients to make decisions earlier in the drug development process and potentially inform on clinical indications.

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“We are delighted to announce our partnership with Macrophage Pharma.”

“Previous work with Macrophage Pharma has established innovative and tailored biology solutions, producing high-value mechanistic data that will help progress its promising molecules to the clinic.”

Macrophage Pharma’s immuno-oncology programme with Aquila is set to incorporate a combination of in vitro, in vivo and ex vivo analyses.

Based on data generated, Macrophage Pharma will be able to identify the best preclinical candidate for investigational new drug (IND) selection to enter Phase I clinical trials.

Aquila BioMedical focuses on immuno-oncology, immunology and multiplex histology and uses research to improve drug discovery and development programmes for clients globally.

Macrophage Pharma discovers and develops therapies designed to enhance anti-tumour immune responses by modulating the tumour microenvironment.