BioWorld International Correspondent

LONDON Scancell Ltd. agreed to a collaboration and licensing agreement with ISU Chemical Co Ltd. in Seoul, South Korea, to develop and manufacture Scancell’s antibody, SC100, for the treatment of solid tumors.

Scancell said this is its second significant deal and paves the way for the company to raise its first round of venture capital.

ISU Chemical will invest US$1 million in Scancell and will pay development and commercialization costs for SC100 for the Asia Pacific region. Scancell, based in Nottingham, will receive royalties and access to all data generated by ISU for use in the development of SC100 in Europe and the U.S.

Richard Goodfellow, commercial director, told BioWorld International, “With this deal we are now in a position to go out for a substantial venture capital funding, which we hope to complete some time this year. We have already taken soundings and in the next week or two will determine what is realistic.”

SC100 is an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFr)-blocking antibody, being developed for the treatment of cancers in which EGFr is upregulated, including lung, colorectal, breast and head and neck cancers.

SC100 is in preclinical development. ISU will manufacture the antibody for clinical trials and eventual sales. “The deal with ISU will speed up development and we hope SC100 will go into clinical trials next year,” said Goodfellow. Scancell is talking to other potential partners for the antibody in Europe and the U.S.

Scancell’s first deal, in October 2001, was with Genmab A/S to develop and commercialize antibodies against Scancell’s antigen targets. This is worth a potential $2 million to Scancell in milestones and the company has an option to participate in further development on a cost-sharing/profit-sharing basis. “We want to do this in a year or two, and the fund raising will be important in this respect,” Goodfellow said.

He added, “These corporate deals are very important for us. Genmab and ISU are significant companies, and any company that puts its name up against ours will do extensive due diligence, thus establishing the credibility of our technology.”

Scancell has three other antibodies, SC102, SC103 and SC104, which it intends to partner at some time. The company also has access to a number of other antigen targets. It is developing a vaccines platform, ImmunoBodies, which it says will overcome the current limitations of cancer vaccines.

ISU is a petrochemicals company that in 2000 announced plans to diversify into biotechnology. Through a number of strategic partnerships it has established a position in antibody development and manufacture, and drug discovery. Its portfolio includes a humanized antibody against an undisclosed target and a recombinant human protein for adjuvant use in chemotherapy. ISU has a biotechnology R&D center in Rockville, Md.

Chang Hoon Choi, managing director of ISU’s biotechnology unit, said he expected this initial agreement to be the start of a long-term relationship between the two companies. “Scancell’s expertise in the discovery of novel antigens and development of early stage immunotherapeutics and, in particular, monoclonal antibodies, will be strongly complementary to ISU’s strengths in antibody production.”