Sale of bio-pharma firm Agalimmune puts Discovery Park in driving seat for immunotherapy and immuno-oncology research

Pioneering research underway at Discovery Park in Sandwich, Kent into the treatment of cancer and other life-threatening diseases has been given a major boost following the sale of Agalimmune to the Israel-based biotech, BioLineRx Ltd.

The acquisition of Agalimmune, in a multi-million-pound cash and shares deal, represents the first UK investment for the Tel-Aviv based company, giving it access to promising technology for oncology and immuno-oncology.

Agalimmune is one of a cluster of companies at Discovery Park working on drug discovery and development.

Agalimmune’s lead compound – AGI-134 – is a synthetic alpha-Gal immunotherapy in development for treating solid tumours, which harnesses antibodies naturally occurring in humans to induce a systematic and specific anti-tumour response.

Pre-clinical studies have been positive to date demonstrating robust protection against secondary tumours. The first-in-human trials targeting solid tumours are set to get underway in the first half of 2018.

Under the terms of the sale, Agalimmune will remain as a UK subsidiary of BioLineRx at Discovery Park, which is seen as key to the group’s future plans.

Damian Marron, former CEO of Agalimmune, said: "We are very excited that we have found an ideal partner for our promising therapeutic pipeline. We are extremely impressed by BioLineRx’s proven drug development capabilities, as well as their meaningful collaborations with global pharmaceutical companies. 

“We strongly believe in the value of our unique platform and we look forward to its accelerated clinical development by BioLineRx with the ongoing support of our talented team of scientists here at Discovery Park.”

Agalimmune was one of several companies set up by former Pfizer scientists following the decision by the global pharmaceutical giant to downsize its Sandwich operation in 2011.

Launched in 2013, the company initially used a laboratory at Granta Park in Cambridge before a successful grant application to Kent County Council’s Expansion East Kent fund resulted in the company establishing a new R&D facility at Discovery Park.

 “The faith put in us by Kent County Council through the Expansion East Kent fund and the world class lab facilities we have had access to at Discovery Park have been instrumental in our success to date,” Damian added.

Lauren Moore, Leasing Executive, Discovery Park, said: “It is fantastic to see the amazing progress Agalimmune has made in this exciting area of science research since their arrival at Discovery Park.

“The sale to BioLineRx and the key role the company sees for Discovery Park in advancing Agalimmune’s unique immunotherapy platform shows how important Sandwich remains to UK Science Plc.”

“We are delighted that the new owners have recognised the world class facilities and expertise located here at Discovery Park and look forward to continuing success for Agalimmune in the years ahead.”

Posted on 24/04/2017