The award of funding to Oncimmune Holdings plc (LON:ONC) by the ‘UK Research and Innovation Ideas to Address COVID-19’ project, leverages its proprietary ImmunoINSIGHTS technology to help in predicting disease severity and treatment response, in collaboration with the Government’s research hub, Medicines Discovery Catapult (MDC). This is a strong signal of recognition, enables Oncimmune to participate in critical efforts to mitigate the pandemic, and further showcase its technology on a broad stage. The collaboration paves the way for deeper understanding of the role of immunity in COVID-19, and successful outcomes can result in Oncimmune’s ownership of differentiated proprietary assets with enormous medical value, and with broad commercial applications in COVID-19 drug and vaccine development.
The initial deliverable by Oncimmune, as part of its funded collaboration in the ‘Immunity Profiling of Patients with COVID-19 for Therapy and Triage’ (IMPACTT) programme with MDC, is a validated infectious disease (COVID-19) NavigAID™ biomarker panel; a prognostic tool, based on profiling the immune characteristics of 3,000 patient samples and clinical data, utilising its SeroTag™ platform. The resulting panel targets classification of symptoms as mild, moderate or severe, not only to help predict disease severity, but the likely responses to vaccines or therapies. In parallel, Oncimmune is building a specialised UK biorepository and data registry of COVID-19 samples, to deepen understanding of the disease and to support ongoing commercialisation of the ImmunoINSIGHTS platforms to the many biopharma companies seeking to tailor and optimise vaccines and therapies against the virus.
It is hugely impressive to see Oncimmune invited to participate in a high profile collaboration, motivated by its ‘pioneering technology’ as cited by UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Oncimmune is working towards developing valuable, differentiated and wholly owned assets that can be subsequently commercialised to global biopharma, and anticipates that the panel will be ready for commercial roll out in around six months, and has generated significant interest already. With over 1,000 therapies and vaccines in development, once validated, a COVID-19 NavigAID™ panel can potentially help selective and tailored deployment of R&D resources and can be hugely valuable tool, likely to attract new revenue streams for Oncimmune.
Participation enhances the investment case for Oncimmune and provides another opportunity to validate its ImmunoINSIGHTS platform, signals the versatility of technology and its potential applications not only for oncology and immune-related diseases, but also for infectious disease. This can build on existing strong momentum in its pipeline of contracted revenue with biopharma companies.