Biotechnology company ImmunoScape has announced a partnership with Singapore’s Experimental Drug Development Centre (EDDC) for new T-cell receptor (TCR)-based therapeutics development.

EDDC is Singapore’s national platform for drug discovery and development hosted by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (ASTAR).

Through the new collaboration, ImmunoScape and EDDC will jointly develop novel off-the-shelf TCR-based bispecific molecules.

Both firms will use the biotechnology company’s database of tumour-specific TCR candidates.

EDDC intends to use its expertise in therapeutic protein design and antibody engineering to create these innovative bispecific medicines based on TCRs.

ImmunoScape CEO Choon-Peng Ng said: “The benefit of off-the-shelf TCR molecules is that they do not require engineering and manufacturing of the patients’ own T cells, which can make them accessible to a much broader patient population and further results in much lower production costs and shorter timelines for the patients to receive the drug.

“By combining the power of our machine learning-augmented TCR discovery platform with EDDC’s broad expertise in the design of multifunctional constructs, we will aim to rapidly develop novel off-the-shelf TCR-based bispecific molecules that could overcome widespread challenges in cell therapy approaches against solid tumours.”

The core antigen-specific T-cell immunological profiling technology used by ImmunoScape was created at the Singapore Immunology Network of ASTAR and is licensed exclusively by ASTAR.

ImmunoScape, a spinout from ASTAR in 2016, has created a high-throughput TCR discovery platform.

This platform generates a diverse and expanding portfolio of safe, and effective TCRs against solid tumours.

EDDC CEO Damian O’Connell said: “We are thrilled to join forces with ImmunoScape to design and produce TCR-based bispecific constructs that could lead to more effective treatments for solid tumours.

“Our deep expertise in progressing projects from the discovery and production of antibodies to the design of multifunctional constructs, paired with ImmunoScape’s TCR discovery platform and library of tumour-specific TCRs, will allow us to jointly develop molecules for sensitive and effective tumour targeting in a T cell-independent manner.”

The partnership is expected to start in early 2024.