Pharma Focus Europe

Techbio Pioneer Etcembly Introduces Industry's First Generative AI-crafted Bispecific T Cell Engager Exhibiting Picomolar Affinity

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Etcembly, a British techbio startup, has emerged from "stealth mode" to reshape the landscape of immunotherapy. Utilizing a pioneering pipeline of T cell receptor (TCR) therapeutics crafted through generative AI, the company represents a remarkable stride forward in the realm of immunotherapies.

Their leading program, ETC-101, stands as the world's first AI-designed bispecific T cell engager. ETC-101 has been meticulously tailored to target PRAME, a well-established antigen found in numerous cancers.

Distinguished by its extraordinary single-digit picomolar affinity—surpassing native receptors by a staggering million-fold—ETC-101 boasts a remarkable absence of known cross-reactivity. Impressively, Etcembly has expedited ETC-101's development to this stage in just 11 months, a remarkable contrast to the 2+ years conventionally required for TCR pipelines. As the platform takes root, future programs are anticipated to progress even more swiftly, including pioneering assets targeting undisclosed focal points within oncology and autoimmune disease.

Central to Etcembly's groundbreaking methodology is their innovative AI engine, EMLy™. EMLy™ harnesses the potential of generative large language models (LLMs). It swiftly predicts, designs, and validates TCR candidates by sifting through hundreds of millions of TCR sequences, refining them to attain low pM affinity and eliminate cross-reactivity.

This visionary approach surmounts the barriers that have traditionally impeded the exploration and manipulation of TCR candidates. By accelerating the development of potent, safe, and high-quality immunotherapies, Etcembly paves the way for a new era in medical advancement.

Michelle Teng, Co-founder and CEO, remarked, "Etcembly was conceived from the convergence of two pioneering concepts—TCRs and generative AI—both positioned ahead of the scientific mainstream. Our success in swiftly generating a robust pipeline of groundbreaking applications within a few years stands as a testament to the resolute dedication of our team and the power of our technology. I am enthusiastic about propelling these assets forward, thereby transforming the landscape of TCR therapeutics and delivering transformative treatments to those in need."

Bent Jakobsen, a trailblazing figure in immunotherapy and Etcembly board member, endorsed the company's trajectory: "With my extensive involvement in TCR therapeutic development, witnessing a novel platform with the capacity to engineer and deliver these therapies is immensely exciting. The potential of TCRs to evolve into a significant drug class has been hindered by the intricate complexities inherent in the system. Etcembly's groundbreaking technologies decisively surmount these obstacles and are poised to usher in a revolutionary acceleration in the realm of TCR research."

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