Scotland-based biotechnology firm TC BioPharm (TCB) has entered into a strategic collaboration with Medinet, a Japanese immuno-cell therapy company, for developing a new treatment for different types of cancer.
As part of the deal, Medinet will license its new cell therapy technology to TC Biopharm for clinical development in Europe.
The technology involves using patients’ own immune cells grown in culture to target cancer, and is claimed to have safely treated patients in Japan.
TCB has secured scientific advice from the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency providing a clear way to conduct the clinical trials.
Under the guidance of the University of Glasgow professor Jeff Evans, TCB intends to treat the first patients in early 2015, working with established cancer clinics in Glasgow and Southampton.
Clinical trials for new therapies will be carried out in three phases. Phase I aims to establish safety of the product being developed, Phase II determines the optimum dose, and Phase III aims to establish effectiveness of the treatment in a statistically significant manner.
Medinet chief executive officer Kunihiko Suzuki said: "Over the next few years, I believe our partnership with TC BioPharm will successfully obtain marketing approval of this exciting immuno-cell therapy for cancer patients in the UK and Europe."
The deal and subsequent commercialisation is supported by Scottish Development International (SDI), the international arm of Scotland’s enterprise agencies, with a £500,000 regional selective assistance grant.
Along with equity finance from Medinet and Scottish investors, TCB has an initial funding commitment of £1.3m, with additional investment expected.
TCB is working with Scottish Enterprise (SE), via its account management approach, to assist the company’s strategic business planning, investment strategy and international growth opportunities through SDI.
Scottish Enterprise chief executive Lena Wilson said the new inward investment combines established cell therapy from Medinet with industry experience from TC BioPharm’s management team, and is supported by the private and public sector to enable this company to flourish and grow in the global market place.
"There is a clear and growing demand for improved cancer treatments, with the worldwide market for cell and tissue products forecast to almost $10bn by 2017," Wilson said.
"Scotland is well-placed to maximise this opportunity through companies, such as TC BioPharm, with international growth ambitions."
Image: TC BioPharm plans to treat first patients in the three-phase clinical trials in early 2015. Photo: courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net.