LIfT BioSciences receives Innovate UK grant to accelerate IMAN cell therapy product development

Published: 16-May-2024

In vivo studies will be conducted to determine the impact of IMAN cell therapies in solid tumour and immunology models developed by the Saeb-Parsy Lab at the University of Cambridge

LIfT BioSciences, a biotech company specialising in the development of cell therapies for cancer treatment, has been awarded a grant of more than GBP £1m from Innovate UK, the UK's funding agency for novel and beneficial projects.

The grant will enable LIfT to show how its immunomodulatory alpha neutrophils (IMANs) recruit immune cells in vivo to attack tumours using a new type of translational humanised mouse model suitable for human neutrophils.


IMANs for solid tumours and auto-immune disease 

The new in vivo model will enable LIfT to assess the potential of product variants, tumour types and combination therapies prior to progressing them into clinic, thereby accelerating the development of LIfT’s IMAN cell therapy pipeline for the treatment of solid tumours and auto-immune disease.

The Innovate UK grant will fund a unique industry-academia collaboration between LIfT Biosciences and the Saeb-Parsy Lab (SPL) at the University of Cambridge, with the aim of investigating the impact of LIfT’s IMAN cell therapies in solid tumour and immunology indications using the humanised in vivo model systems developed at SPL.


Humanised models for true efficacy and safety modelling

SPL has developed and optimised tumour-bearing humanised mice which are essential for true modelling of IMAN safety and efficacy. Data generated from this collaboration will be integral for the better understanding of the mechanism of action (MoA) of IMANs and its potential for combination approaches in solid tumours and immunology, enabling LIfT to investigate its immunomodulatory and cytotoxic mechanisms.

IMANs’ ability to modulate the hostile solid tumour microenvironment (TME) is fundamental to their mechanism of action. The cells are able to recruit and activate T and NK cells, as well as to work with monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) on the Antibody-Dependent Cellular Cytotoxicity (ADCC) pathway to deliver antitumour antibody efficacy through lethal trogocytosis.

Kourosh Saeb-Parsy, Professor of Transplantation at the Department of Surgery at University of Cambridge, commented: “LIfT’s IMANs have a unique multimodal mechanism of action which suggests they have the potential to overcome the limitations of current immunotherapies in solid tumours.  Our group has developed and optimised humanised in vivo solid tumour models which are particularly suited for investigation of therapeutics with immunomodulatory properties, such as IMANs.  We are very excited to be working with LIfT on this project and are grateful for this funding from Innovate UK.”

Photo credit: Blausen Medical

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