Abzena announces a research and licence agreement with Tmunity Therapeutics, a T cell engineering company

19th September 2018

Cambridge, UK, 19 September 2018 – Abzena, plc (AIM: ABZA, Abzena’), the life sciences group providing services and technologies to enable the development and manufacture of biopharmaceutical products, has signed an antibody humanisation agreement with Tmunity Therapeutics (Tmunity), a clinical stage T cell therapy company and a leader in the development of new Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cell (CAR-T) therapies for the treatment of solid and hematological cancers.

Under the agreement Abzena will humanize monoclonal antibodies using its Composite Human Antibody™ technology. This technology combines humanization and deimmunisation technologies to generate fully-humanized therapeutic antibodies devoid of CD4+ T cell epitopes.

Tmunity will use the humanised antibodies to develop CAR-T engineered products. CAR-T therapy is an innovative therapeutic form of personalised medicine in which a patient’s own T-cells are genetically modified to express an antigen recognizing CAR on the surface of the T cell. When the CAR-T encounters a cancer cell expressing the cognate antigen, the CAR-T is activated releasing cytokines that kill the cancer cell. CAR-T therapies have been successfully developed for the treatment of hematological cancers, a success that Tmunity is seeking to duplicate in solid tumors and other hematological malignancies.

The research and license agreement between Abzena and Tmunity also includes developability assessment to assess for any potential sequence liabilities that would affect quality of the product and EpiScreen™, Abzena’s ex-vivo immunogenicity assessment platform.

Under the terms of the licence agreement Abzena will also be due milestone payments should products containing any of the humanized antibody sequences reach IND acceptance.

Campbell Bunce, SVP Scientific Operations of Abzena, said:

“We are delighted to be working with such an innovative organisation as Tmunity, to use our Composite Human Antibody™ platform to help design superior CARs for their CAR-T products. We believe that reducing the risk of immunogenicity of the receptor will contribute to a reduced risk profile for this exciting and potent treatment for cancer.” 

“Innovative use of our proprietary technology for an emerging and revolutionary drug platform like CAR-T, and utilisation of our protein engineering, immunology and bioanalytics expertise, is a great example of our ability to provide world-class support to our partners.”



Abzena plc

John Burt, Chief Executive Officer

+44 1223 903498
Instinctif Partners

Melanie Toyne Sewell / Rozi Morris / Alex Shaw

+44 20 7457 2020


About Abzena

Abzena (AIM: ABZA) provides proprietary technologies and complementary services to enable the development and manufacture of biopharmaceutical products.

The term ‘ABZENA Inside’ is used by Abzena to describe products that have been created using its proprietary technologies and are being developed by its partners, and includes Composite Human Antibodies™. Abzena has the potential to earn future licence fees, milestone payments and/or royalties on ABZENA Inside products.

Abzena offers the following services and technologies across its principal sites in Cambridge (UK), San Diego, California (USA) and Bristol, Pennsylvania (USA):

  • Biology research studies, including immunogenicity assessment of candidate biopharmaceutical products and bioassay development;
  • Protein engineering to create humanized antibodies and deimmunised therapeutic proteins;
  • Cell line development for the manufacture of recombinant proteins and antibodies;
  • Contract process development and GMP manufacture of biopharmaceuticals, including monoclonal antibodies and recombinant proteins for preclinical and clinical studies;
  • Contract synthetic chemistry and bioconjugation research services, focused on antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs);
  • Proprietary site-specific conjugation technologies and novel payloads for ADC development;
  • GMP manufacturing of ADC linkers, payloads & combined linker-payloads; and
  • GMP analytical services for biopharmaceutical manufacturing projects.

For more information, please see www.abzena.com.

About Tmunity Therapeutics

Tmunity is a private, clinical-stage biotherapeutics company focused on saving and improving lives by delivering the full potential of next-generation T cell immunotherapy to patients with devastating diseases. Integrating a foundational collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) with the groundbreaking scientific, clinical and manufacturing expertise and demonstrated track record of its founders (Carl June, MD; Bruce Blazar, MD; Bruce Levine, PhD; Yangbing Zhao, MD, PhD; Jim Riley, PhD; and Anne Chew, PhD), Tmunity represents a new center of gravity in translational T cell medicine. The company is developing a diversified portfolio of novel treatments that exhibit best-in-class control over T cell activation and direction in the body, with an initial focus in cancer with two programs currently in the clinic. With headquarters in Philadelphia, Tmunity utilizes laboratories and production facilities at Penn and its own dedicated cGMP manufacturing facility in Norristown, PA, to pursue process improvement and production scale-up in support of clinical development of its T cell therapies. For more information, visit www.tmunity.com.