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AUT bioengineering part of new cancer therapy

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posted by WM Admin on 19 June 2015

Auckland University of Technology (AUT) media release, 18 June 2015

A UK pharmaceutical company is using Auckland University of Technology (AUT) bioengineering research for a potential break-through therapy for cancer.  

Agalimmune, which develops anti-cancer therapies for the treatment of solid tumours, has licensed engineered-molecule technology developed by AUT’s Centre for KODE Technology Innovation. It will use the KODE molecules (the synthetic glycolipid variations), which can attract the immune system to destroy cancer cells, in its new cancer immunotherapy product. AUT Professor of Biotech Innovation Stephen Henry, within the Centre for KODE Technology Innovation in the School of Engineering, described the technology to the New Zealand Herald as a “biological paint” that could add virtually any biological or non-biological material to almost any living or synthetic surface in just a few minutes. This includes cells, viruses, bugs and tumour cellss and solid surfaces such as glass, plastic, metals etc. 

Agalimmune has exclusive rights to use KODE’s molecules in the field of injection of tumours for cancer treatment. The KODE molecules will be used to label or modify the outside of cancerous tumours making them a target of the body’s immune system. In the process of destroying the tumour, the immune system will be educated to recognise and destroy other unmodified primary and secondary tumours. (see for a video explanation). Working together, the two technologies have been shown to be effective for treatment of both primary and secondary tumours in animal models. 

Under the licence, KODE Biotech (an AUT spin out which has commercialised the technology) will receive up to $44 million in development and sales milestone payments, plus potentially 10’s of millions in annual royalties. 

Agalimmune director Graham Griffiths says, “We believe that this technology has great value in immunotherapy, and we are very pleased to be collaborating with a world-leader in the development of synthetic glycolipids. This licensing agreement also represents a significant step forward in Agalimmune’s progress towards the development of pioneering targeted cancer vaccines and immunotherapies for the benefit of patients.”

Professor Henry says, “We are delighted that Agalimmune has identified the potential of KODE™ Technology for this application, and we look forward to seeing the results of the next phase of development of the therapeutic.” 

 Also see for an interview by Jamie Morton from the New Zealand Herald.