Achilles Therapeutics Receives Horizon 2020 Grant as Part of Neoantigen Consortium

Research and Innovation program to develop a tool for the prediction of neoantigen immunogenicity

London, UNITED KINGDOM


LONDON, May 06, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Achilles Therapeutics plc (NASDAQ: ACHL), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing precision T cell therapies to treat solid tumors, today announced that it is a member of a consortium that has been awarded a grant from Horizon 2020, an EU Research and Innovation program. The consortium, which is led by UCL and includes The Francis Crick Institute, the Weizmann Institute of Science, and the Technical University of Denmark, in addition to Achilles, will research the immunogenicity of tumor neoantigens with the aim of developing a tool to predict neoantigen immunogenicity.

“Immunotherapy has revolutionized cancer treatment, providing survival benefits to patients with hard-to-treat tumors. There is an increasing call for personalized, precision therapies to induce immune responses against tumor-specific targets,” said Dr Sergio Quezada, Chief Scientific Officer of Achilles. “This grant is a further validation of the work being done at Achilles by our team of world-class scientists. The contribution of our deep experience with neoantigen prediction algorithms and our innovative platform technology will allow the consortium to work toward identifying new immunotherapeutic targets and effective anticancer therapies.”

Current technologies struggle to discriminate immunogenic tumor neoantigens from the thousands of background mutations in tumors at scale. The consortium will work together to develop a high throughput neoantigen immunogenicity profiling platform. The project, named DECOD-Ag, will be conducted by a team of world-leading, interdisciplinary scientists from the consortium with expertise in cancer immunotherapy, bioinformatics, peptidomics, mass spectrometry, immune monitoring, clinical and translational medicine.

This project has received €3 million ($3.6 million) from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the FETOPEN grant agreement number 964998. Approximately €0.8 million ($1 million) will be allocated to Achilles.

About Achilles Therapeutics

Achilles is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing precision T cell therapies targeting clonal neoantigens: protein markers unique to the individual that are expressed on the surface of every cancer cell. The Company has two ongoing Phase I/IIa trials, the CHIRON trial in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and the THETIS trial in patients with recurrent or metastatic melanoma. Achilles uses DNA sequencing data from each patient, together with its proprietary PELEUS™ bioinformatics platform, to identify clonal neoantigens specific to that patient, and then develop precision T cell-based product candidates specifically targeting those clonal neoantigens.

About the Consortium Members

UCL
UCL is London's leading multidisciplinary university, with more than 13,000 staff and 42,000 students from 150 different countries. Through a progressive approach to teaching and research, our world leading academics, curious students and outstanding staff continually pursue excellence, break boundaries, and make an impact on real world problems. UCL is consistently ranked as one of the top performing organisations worldwide under the EU Framework Programmes for research.

The Francis Crick Institute
The Francis Crick Institute is a biomedical research institute located in London, UK. The Institute’s ambition is to discover the fundamental biology underlying human health and diseases. The Institute's work helps to understand why disease develops and to find new ways to diagnose, prevent and treat a range of illnesses − such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, infections and neurodegenerative diseases. The Institute brings together outstanding scientists from all disciplines, carrying out research that will help improve the health and quality of people's lives, and keep the UK at the forefront of medical innovation.

The Weizmann Institute of Science
The Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel is one of the world’s top-ranking multidisciplinary research institutions and offers masters’ and doctoral-level degrees across five faculties, noted for its wide-ranging exploration of the natural and exact sciences. Institute scientists are advancing research on the human brain, artificial intelligence, computer science and encryption, astrophysics and particle physics, and they are tackling diseases such as cancer, and addressing climate change through environmental, ocean and plant sciences, and more.

Technical University of Denmark
DTU was founded in 1829 with the mission of creating value for the benefit of society. DTU is an international elite technical university where education, scientific advice, and innovation rest on a solid foundation of world-class research. The University is at the academic and multidisciplinary forefront of the technical and the natural sciences - with new initiatives in a number of demanding engineering disciplines such as life science.

About Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020 is the financial instrument implementing the Innovation Union, a Europe 2020 flagship initiative aimed at securing Europe's global competitiveness.

By coupling research and innovation, Horizon 2020 is helping to achieve this with its emphasis on excellent science, industrial leadership and tackling societal challenges. The goal is to ensure Europe produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in delivering innovation.

For further information please visit: https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/.

Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains express or implied forward-looking statements that are based on our management's belief and assumptions and on information currently available to our management. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, these statements relate to future events or our future operational or financial performance, and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements in this press release represent our views as of the date of this press release. We anticipate that subsequent events and developments will cause our views to change. However, while we may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, we have no current intention of doing so except to the extent required by applicable law. You should therefore not rely on these forward-looking statements as representing our views as of any date subsequent to the date of this press release.

Lee M. Stern – VP, IR & External Communications
+1 (332) 373-2634
l.stern@achillestx.com

Consilium Strategic Communications
Mary-Jane Elliott, Sukaina Virji, Melissa Gardiner
+44 (0) 203 709 5000
achillestx@consilium-comms.com