Exciting oncology research is underway at several emerging European biopharmaceutical firms. Advances in cancer immunotherapies, antibody-drug conjugates, and combination therapies are highlighted in recent disclosures from these companies targeting both solid tumors and hematological malignancies.
Adaptimmune Drives TCR and Cell Therapy Forward
UK-based Adaptimmune has presented positive data on its SPEAR T-cell platform targeting NY-ESO and MAGE-A4. Durable responses were observed in patients with synovial sarcoma, with 70% of responders still alive at 2 years post-treatment. A case report also demonstrated acceptable safety and encouraging efficacy of these engineered T cells in advanced melanoma.
Further strengthening its pipeline, Adaptimmune reached an agreement with GSK to regain full rights to two programs – PRAM E and NY-ESO. The company also continues to enhance SPEAR T-cells through research on mechanisms such as CD8 co-expression. A strategic combination with TCR2 was just announced, which will create a leading player in solid tumor cell therapies.
Affimed Advances Novel Innate Cell Engagers
Germany’s Affimed showcased AFM13, a novel tetravalent bispecific innate cell engager targeting CD16A. Phase 1 results presented at AACR demonstrated feasibility and signs of activity in heavily pretreated patients with relapsed/refractory peripheral T cell lymphoma. Preclinical studies also revealed AFM13’s potential to facilitate repetitive tumor cell targeting and serial killing by arming NK cells.
The company also announced first patient dosing in a phase 1 study of AFM28, an innate cell engager targeting CD123 on acute myeloid leukemia cells. Fast Track designation was recently granted by the FDA for AFM13 in combination with cord blood-derived allogeneic NK cells for relapsed/refractory Hodgkin lymphoma.
Innate Pharma Showcases NK Cell Portfolio
France’s Innate Pharma highlighted new data on lacutamab, a first-in-class anti-KIR3DL2 antibody in development for T cell lymphomas. Interim results from the phase 2 TELLOMAK study demonstrated increased cutaneous T cell lymphoma response rates when assessed using modified criteria. The NK cell modulator monalizumab, being advanced in partnership with AstraZeneca, showed favorable pharmacokinetics and safety in patients with solid tumors.
Innate also presented initial evidence of tolerability and signs of efficacy for SAR’579, a CD16A-targeting NK cell engager, in relapsed/refractory acute myeloid leukemia. This first-in-class asset was granted FDA Fast Track designation in treating hematological malignancies. Further Phase 1/2 dose escalation remains ongoing.
TC BioPharm Accelerates Gamma Delta CAR-T Pipeline
Scotland’s TC BioPharm is focused on development of allogeneic gamma delta CAR-T cell products, including lead candidate TCB-008. A published academic collaboration found these unique cell therapies could have potential in treating acute myeloid leukemia. TC BioPharm announced plans to accelerate TCB-008 through increased partnerships, noting allogeneic CAR-T development as a key strategic priority. A phase 1/2a study of TCB-008 remains ongoing in both hematologic and solid tumors.
Philogen Advances Targeted Immunomodulators
Switzerland’s Philogen has developed an innovative approach combining tumor-targeted delivery of immunomodulatory payloads. The company’s fibroblast activation protein-directed platform demonstrated tumor-selective localization and safety in preclinical evaluation. Recently published data also showed Philogen’s TNF-targeting immunocytokine OncoFAP induced glioblastoma regression together with lomustine in animal models, providing in vivo validation.
BergenBio Touts First-in-Class AXL Inhibitor
Norwegian biotech BergenBio is focused on developing bemcentinib, potentially the first selective AXL inhibitor in oncology. Early clinical results demonstrated bemcentinib’s promising combination activity with pembrolizumab in non-small cell lung cancer patients who previously progressed on platinum regimens. Biomarker-directed phase 2 trials are underway, studying patient selection strategies based on biomarkers such as STK11 mutation status.
IO Biotech Advances Immuno-Modulating Vaccines
IO Biotech’s pipeline includes IO102 and IO103, RNA- and DNA-based vaccines designed to induce immune responses against IDO and PD-L1. The lead candidate MM-002, combining IO102 and IO103 with checkpoint inhibitors, is progressing through phase 3 in melanoma and phase 2 trials in several solid tumor settings. Published findings also demonstrate immune activation in immunotherapy-naïve melanoma patients.
Medigene Enhances TCR-T Therapy Platform
German pharma Medigene is focused on enhancing T cell receptor-modified T cell (TCR-T) therapies through its integrated technology platform. Recent preclinical data highlighted significantly improved antitumor effects when combining an optimal affinity TCR, targeting NY-ESO-1, with a PD1-41BB co-stimulatory switch receptor. Medigene’s presentations have also focused on its end-to-end approach to optimize and advance next-generation TCR-T candidates toward the clinic.
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