Oncimmune granted funding for Covid-19 research collaboration
Immunodiagnostics company Oncimmune Holdings announced the award of funding from UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) ‘Ideas to Address Covid-19’ programme on Tuesday.
The AIM-traded firm said the funding would support a joint collaboration between itself and Medicines Discovery Catapult (MDC), to deliver the ‘IMmunity Profiling of pAtients with Covid-19 for Therapy and Triage’ (IMPACTT) programme.
It said the collaboration represented a “critical partnership” in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and would focus on enabling better treatment selection for patients according to their immune profile.
The IMPACTT programme would collect samples and clinical data from 3,000 UK Covid-19 patients, to be studied by Oncimmune to develop and validate an ‘Infectious Disease NavigAID’ panel of biomarkers that could be used in Covid-19 research.
It said the research tool would be designed to predict both likely patient response to the virus, and the effectiveness of vaccines and treatment against it.
Oncimmune said it currently had more than 800 SARS-CoV-2 related antigens and peptides for profiling Covid-19 patients and predicting their response to vaccines and therapeutics against the virus.
MDC, which would be responsible for collecting the patient samples, is the UK Government's “hub” for medicines research and development, and the organisation responsible for setting up the ‘Lighthouse Lab Network’, which is a multi-party collaboration of laboratories processing Covid-19 test samples.
Oncimmune said the “critical collaboration” would leverage the strengths of both organisations to rapidly develop a profiling tool, to optimise novel therapeutics in patients with differing Covid-19 severity.
“As the Covid-19 pandemic moves from the immediate challenge of developing novel diagnostics, we are now entering a phase where the world needs to better understand this disease in infected patients in order to optimise therapeutic outcomes,” said chief executive officer Dr Adam Hill.
“Oncimmune has been in discussion for some months now to utilise its differentiated technical knowledge to develop a comprehensive diagnostic tool capable of characterising the immune system's response to Covid-19 and, as a consequence, being able to better predict patient symptom severity and treatment response.
“Together with MDC, this programme is now underway, and will shortly be ready to optimise the first wave of novel therapeutic approaches to preventing and treating this disease.”
Dr Hill said that one completed, the Infectious Disease NavigAID panel would be a “critical resource” for biopharmaceutical companies in their development of biologic medicines and vaccines against Covid-19.
“At the same time, Oncimmune will be developing an important biobank and knowledge resource in the UK which will enable a greater understanding of which therapy should be used when, and in whom.”
At 1248 BST, shares in Oncimmune Holdings were up 6.72% at 154.2p.