The complexity of adaptive immunity drives the need for individualised analytics

Next Generation Immunotherapies

Adaptive immunity is comprised of immensely complex molecular and cellular systems that are essentially unique to each individual. This means that it is not possible to precisely manipulate the adaptive immune system in all individuals with a single therapeutic product.

The adaptive immune system contains a multitude of white blood cells capable of identifying new threats in the body; whether those threats are pathogens like viruses or our own dysfunctional cells that comprise cancers. One such class of white blood cell are T-cells, which are responsible for discriminating between molecules produced by our own normal tissues, from those that come from foreign entities like viruses, or from dysfunctional cells of tumours.

The molecules that T-cells detect are termed ‘antigens’. These antigens are processed within nearly all cells of our body, and then displayed at the cell surface for sampling by T-cells. Antigens are displayed on the surface of our cells in a highly defined manner, wherein the ways in which the repertoire of antigens are displayed is practically unique within each individual, as determined by their own unique genetics. This means that different individuals can present identical disease targets in very different ways, and thus there are no universal disease antigens that are suitable for targeting in all patients.

T-cells are able to specifically detect the massive number of possible antigens because each new T-cell is equipped with a unique T-cell receptor (TCR). These TCRs physically interact with the antigens displayed on the surface of target cells, and signal the T-cell when an antigen is recognised by that TCR. These signals activate T-cells to orchestrate appropriate immune responses against the detected antigen target. The highly sensitive detection of disease antigens, from viruses and tumour cells alike, is conducted on the background of T-cells having to tolerate the vast majority of antigens that they sample; which naturally come from our own normal cells. This is achieved through a mechanism wherein all new T-cells produced by an individual pass through an intricate selection process whereby those T-cells bearing TCRs that react with the antigens produced by our own normal cells, are eliminated. This means that neither T-cells, nor their TCRs, can be easily transferred between individuals in a safe and effective manner, because the selection process is unique to the individual where the T-cell was produced.

The differences in how antigens are displayed between individuals, and how the T-cells are trained to react against antigens within each individual, means that it is not possible to construct therapeutics that are universally applicable to all patients. Anocca’s unique technology platform addresses this challenge through rapid and accurate collection of antigen and TCR information from any individual.

Engineered human cells for individualised analytics

Next Generation Immunotherapies

Anocca has created a technology platform deploying highly engineered human cells in the laboratory, along with novel genetic and molecular tools, to rapidly and accurately interrogate the adaptive immune system of each individual.

Harnessing the adaptive immune system for therapeutic use requires precise information about antigens and TCRs. The complexity of how antigens are displayed and how TCRs are created within the body makes this a laborious and inefficient task when attempting to extract this information using cells isolated directly from patients. Anocca has created a unique technology platform that leverages highly engineered human cells in the laboratory to recapitulate how antigens and TCRs interact in a systematic and highly defined manner.

To achieve this, Anocca has created large libraries of engineered human cells that are used to precisely mimic how cells display antigens in each individual patient, and how T-cells bearing specific TCRs respond to these antigens. Essentially, Anocca is able to rapidly assemble a customised toolkit comprising living human cells that recapitulates targeted antigen-TCR interactions for each individual patient, or group of patients.

Toolkits containing living cells that mimic the antigen-TCR interactions within individuals can be deployed in a variety of ways to identify, characterise and even engineer disease antigens and the TCRs that target those antigens. This is made possible by a range of proprietary genetic and molecular technologies that are built-in to Anocca’s engineered cells.

Anocca’s antigen technologies rapidly identify and validate new disease antigens

Based on large libraries of engineered antigen presenting cells (eAPC), Anocca’s antigen technologies allow the precise mapping of if, and how, certain disease antigens are displayed by each patient’s immune system. This allows us to determine which disease antigens should be targeted in each patient.

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Anocca’s TCR technologies rapidly identify, characterise and engineer TCRs against disease antigens

Based on different forms of engineered TCR-presenting cells (eTPC), Anocca’s TCR technologies generate TCRs that recognise almost any disease antigen within each individual patient. These TCRs can be used to create cellular therapies equipped with these TCRs to treat disease on an individualised basis.

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