Cardiff University and Ervaxx turn to the dark side

Cardiff University is looking to Ervaxx and their Dark Antigens to build on research which could lead to a universal cancer treatment.

Cardiff University’s world class immunology group has announced a collaboration with an emerging start-up which targets ‘dark matter’ genes to develop cell therapies. The project builds upon recent research from the university which raises the prospect of a universal treatment for cancer.

Cardiff University’s research has been making headlines and offers real hope for a universal cancer therapy. Their collaboration with Ervaxx has enormous potential to bring novel therapies to the market more quickly.

Ervaxx, which licenses its own proprietary treatment, ‘Dark Antigens’, has already raised $17.5million in Series A funding for 2020 to target 98% of so-called dark matter genomes which cause cancer. They will work on a multiyear research program with Professor Andrew Sewell’s T Cell modulation group to discover and characterise T Cells and TCRs reactive to cancer specific antigens and ligands.

Ervaxx
Image from Ervaxx

The two organisations will also push on from new research published in Nature Immunology Magazine [1] by the Cardiff University’s team in which they identified a T Cell clone that can spot and kill many different types of human cancer while still remaining inert for non-cancerous cells.

The cell targets MR1, an MHC class 1 related protein via an unidentified cancer specific ligand. The findings, which have been validated in a preclinical model, raise the prospect of immunotherapies which could become a one size fits all universal cancer treatment.

“Ervaxx’s Dark Antigens, which are derived from the 98% of the genome that does not encode known proteins, constitute a promising and yet untapped source of targets for immunotherapies,” said Prof. Andrew Sewell, Head of the T-cell modulation group, Cardiff University. “This collaboration will use our world-class expertise in T-cell biology to identify T cells and TCRs reactive to those targets and pave the way for a new wave of treatments in cancer and potentially other areas [2].”

Under the agreement, Ervaxx will provide funding and will be able to license relevant Cardiff University Patents claiming T Cells and TCRs reactive to cancer specific antigens. The company will have the right to commercialise any resulting immunotherapeutic and cancer vaccines. Cardiff university will receive milestone payments on any products which make it onto the market.

The TRL score for this Longevity.Technology domain is currently set at: ‘Late proof of concept demonstrated in real life conditions

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The TRL score for the technology addressed in this article is: “Technology refined and ready for initial human trials”

[1] https://www.nature.com/articles/s41590-019-0578-8

[2] https://www.prnewswire.co.uk/news-releases/ervaxx-and-cardiff-university-enter-collaboration-to-develop-novel-t-cell-and-t-cell-receptor-based-immunotherapeutics-targeting-dark-antigens-tm–865603899.html

Carla Heyworth
Carla is sub editor at Longevity.Technology and she's the glue that keeps the team on track and the articles rolling-out. She has an extensive background in B2B communications, events and marketing. Carla's a visual person and can often be found behind a camera or editing photos

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