Scots biotech company TC BioPharm has created “bio-banks” which will be used to develop more cost-effective, safe and efficacious cancer treatments.

The firm, whose co-founder was one of the Dolly the Sheep creators, has secured record funding from the European Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme to further the work.

The company is bidding to develop and commercialise a range of new cell-based products to tackle disease, improve patient quality of life.

Read more: Cancer therapy firm lands heavyweight backing

The project has won a €4 million grant it said is the largest such EU award to any UK company for development of a healthcare therapeutic product, from H2020.

The firm’s cell banks are collected from healthy donors and stored, providing a source for scientists to manufacture next-generation “off-the-shelf” cell therapies for future clinical product development.

It says that using material from healthy donors offers advantages over conventional therapies, which use the patient’s own cells to treat their tumour.

HeraldScotland: “This allows us to transition our therapeutic approach from expensive and complex personalised therapy using patient’s own cells, to a more cost-effective ‘pharmaceuticalised’ approach.” Dr Leek“This allows us to transition our therapeutic approach from expensive and complex personalised therapy using patient’s own cells, to a more cost-effective ‘pharmaceuticalised’ approach.” Dr Leek

A larger population of cancer patients can be treated with a single reproducible product made in bulk to keep costs lower, consequently increasing accessibility and reducing financial burden for healthcare systems.

The biotechnology company is developing immuno-oncology products which involve expansion of gamma-delta T (GDT) cells to formulate treatments for a wide range of tumours.

Read more: Scots cancer therapy pioneer opens Japan base

Founded in 2014 by Dr Michael Leek and Angela Scott, it now has offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Japan.

HeraldScotland:

Ms Scott, chief operating officer and one of the scientists that created Dolly the Sheep in 1996, above, said: “I am delighted we have completed manufacture of our first allogeneic [cells which are genetically dissimilar but come from individuals of the same species] cell banks.

“By combining allogeneic GDT therapy with our unique CAR-T platform it will allow us to develop the next generation of safe, cost-effective immunotherapy for cancer, improving patient outcomes and quality of life.”

TCB said that, benefitting from the H2020 support, it is rapidly progressing its clinical evaluation of allogeneic therapies.

Having recently demonstrated safety and efficacy of large-dose autologous gamma-delta T cells in cancer patients, TCB is commencing treatment of cancer patients with an allogeneic variant.

By building on its exclusive CAR-T platform, the company also plans to treat leukemia patients with an allogeneic CD19-directed GDT CAR-T product.

HeraldScotland:

Dr Leek, chief executive, above, said: “Availability of clinical-grade allogeneic GDT cell banks is an important commercial milestone for TCB.

“This allows us to transition our therapeutic approach from expensive and complex personalised therapy using patient’s own cells, to a more cost-effective ‘pharmaceuticalised’ approach.”