British biotech company Etcembly have developed the world’s first immunotherapy drug designed by generative AI – the same kind of technology behind ChatGPT.

The Oxford-based company’s lead therapeutic programme, ETC-101, is the world’s first AI-designed bispecific T cell engager. It targets PRAME, a validated antigen present in many cancers but absent from healthy tissue.

Established in 2020, Etcembly is supported by a syndicate of institutional and private investors. The company has also benefited from joining NVIDIA Inception, a programme that nurtures startups revolutionising industries through advanced technologies.

Etcembly is actively developing partnerships with innovative biopharma companies working on next-generation immunotherapies, while also driving preclinical validation of its own pipeline of immune engagers towards the clinic.

Co-founder and CEO Michelle Teng said: “Etcembly was born from our desire to bring together two concepts that are ahead of the scientific mainstream – TCRs and generative AI – to design the next generation of

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“It’s a real testament to the tenacity of our team and our technology that we’ve generated a robust pipeline with first-in-class applications within a few years, and I’m excited to take these assets forward so we can make the future of TCR therapeutics a reality and bring transformative treatments to patients.”

Bent Jakobsen, immunotherapy pioneer and Etcembly board member, said: “Having headed up the development of TCR therapeutics for many years, it’s exciting to see a new platform with such power to deliver and engineer these therapies.

“I believe TCRs have the potential to become a prominent drug class but it has been hampered by the difficulties involved with the huge complexities of the system.

“Etcembly’s breakthrough technologies sweep aside these hurdles and will undoubtedly lead to a game-changing acceleration of the TCR field.”

Etcembly’s innovative AI engine EMLy™ uses generative large language models (LLMs) to rapidly predict, design and validate TCR candidates.

EMLy scans hundreds of millions of TCR sequences then engineers them to achieve low pM affinity and eliminate cross-reactivity.

This ground-breaking approach overcomes the barriers holding back the discovery and engineering of TCR candidates, accelerating the development of high-quality, potent and safe immunotherapies.