Axis partners with Hong Kong Polytechnic University on immunotherapy

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) and Axis Therapeutics have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU), and are joining forces to set up a joint centre for immunotherapy. The centre will conduct collaborative research on cancer immunotherapy, with an aim to develop new cancer treatments, and to specifically advance the application of immunotherapy in Hong Kong, with the ultimate objective of offering a novel immunotherapy treatment to cancer patients across the globe.

Axis Therapeutics, a newly established joint venture to be owned 55% by Athenex and 45% by Xiangxue Life Sciences, will be primarily focused on the research, development and commercialization of T-cell receptor-engineered T cells (TCR-T), a form of cancer immunotherapy.

Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that harnesses the body’s immune system to combat tumors. Researchers have struggled for decades to make it work and results have raised hope that immunotherapy will give new options for some types of cancer treatments.

“We are very excited about this collaboration opportunity with Axis Therapeutics. We have been a long-term partner of Athenex, having collaborated on an oral absorption technology for an anti-cancer drug,” said Professor Alexander Wai, vice president of research development at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. “We are delighted that Athenex has recently also licensed the pegylated genetically engineered arginase project that initially was developed in our University. We have also witnessed the tremendous growth of Athenex in the last few years and impressed by the Athenex leadership. We are delighted that they have chosen The Hong Kong Polytechnic University for this collaboration and believe this partnership will reinforce Hong Kong’s position as a biotechnology hub in the region.”