Immunotherapeutic strategies are powerful weapons in combating malignancies. However, only a minority of patients benefit from this therapeutic modality, as tumours develop mechanisms of immune escape and suppression and uptake of (antibody-based) agents in tumors is limited. The urgency of investigating novel strategic approaches is dictated by the high incidence and mortality rates of cancer worldwide. Lung cancer, in particular, is the leading cancer with respect to incidence and mortality (14% of new cancers).
In the ERC Advanced “HYPOXIMMUNO”, Prof. Lambin and his team have investigated the trimodal therapy involving high precision Stereotactic Radiotherapy, hypoxia/necrosis targeting and tumour specific immunotherapy (immunocytokine L19-IL2 to “push the accelerator” with a checkpoint inhibitor to “release the break”). Despite promising results, the delivery of immunotherapeutics to the tumour site has proven to be challenging. Prof. Lambin and his team have sought to overcome this limitation with the inclusion of genetically-modified Clostridium bacteria as optimal delivery system capable of effectively delivering immunotherapeutics within the tumour. These Clostridium-bacteria selectively colonise the hypoxic/necrotic regions present in solid tumours and act as cellular factories capable of continuously producing tumour-specific immunotherapies within the tumour (watch https://vimeo.com/251022032 ).
In this ERC PoC project, a team of technological and commercial experts will investigate the commercial feasibility of this innovative approach. We will prepare the first steps towards the start-up of a spin-off, by defining the exact business strategy, model and positioning for commercial success. We will develop the business strategy based on the technological aspects, the market needs and trends, and the IP-position. During CL-IO, we will gain technical and commercial proof-of-concept, providing the necessary information for potential commercialisation routes.
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