UK-based biotechnology firm Immunocore and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) have identified a lead compound as part of their second discovery programme.

The new ImmTAC lead molecule is reported to be relevant in multiple cancers such as triple negative breast cancer, oesophageal, gastric and ovarian cancers.

The identification of the new ImmTAC is expected to deliver an undisclosed milestone payment to Immunocore.

Immunocore chief scientific officer Dr Bent Jakobsen said: “Our discovery collaboration with GSK is generating novel ImmTAC molecules, which are relevant across multiple solid tumours and the disease targets are all intracellularly located, which are hard for other biologic platforms to reach.

“Our ImmTAC technology is continuing to demonstrate its versatility across a wide range of cancer types, showing an ability to tackle solid ‘cold’, low mutation rate tumours, the majority of tumours and across other diseases.

“We are growing increasingly confident about our opportunity to help patients with some of the most intractable cancers and major diseases.”

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"We are growing increasingly confident about our opportunity to help patients with some of the most intractable cancers and major diseases."

Under the discovery collaboration agreement with GSK, Immunocore is now working on two ImmTAC programmes.

The first ImmTAC programme is progressing to schedule and will be submitted as an investigational new drug (IND) this year. It will enter Phase I clinical studies early next year for potential application in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), bladder cancer, synovial sarcoma, melanoma and ovarian cancer.

GSK oncology R&D therapeutic area head and senior vice-president Dr Axel Hoos said: “Our collaboration with Immunocore is progressing extremely well and we have identified novel and promising ImmTAC molecules with potential utility across a broad range of cancer types.

“We look forward to continued progress in both programmes.”

Immunocore and GSK formed this collaboration in 2013, under which Immunocore will receive up to a total of £142m in pre-clinical milestone payments.

Furthermore, Immunocore is eligible to receive up to £200m for each product that reaches the market as development and commercial milestone payments with double-digit royalties.

As per the agreement, Immunocore will be responsible for all pre-clinical development and for the initial clinical trial in patients for the first two programmes, while GSK will carry out the remaining product development and commercialisation.