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AstraZeneca taps antibody-mining startup Alchemab to dig into prostate cancer


While antibodies have drawn attention lately for fighting infectious diseases like COVID-19, AstraZeneca hopes to wield them against prostate cancer, and it's starting with a proof-of-concept project with analytics startup Alchemab Therapeutics. The plan: to explore why some people get prostate cancer, but others don't.


Alchemab will use its sequencing-based drug discovery platform to evaluate the responses mounted by individual patients’ immune systems to the presence of tumors. The first study will explore the underlying biology of prostate cancer.


The unique antibody signatures uncovered by Alchemab could serve as new diagnostic biomarkers, according to the two companies, and it could also help predict patients' responses to various therapies. That could, in turn, boost AstraZeneca's efforts to develop novel immuno-oncology drugs.


Alchemab, which is based near AstraZeneca’s headquarters in Cambridge, U.K., raised £60 million ($82 million U.S.) in a series A round last month and hopes the project will help further showcase the uses of its technology.

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