Headquartered in Dortmund, Germany, Protagen is engaged the development of diagnostic tools that support therapeutic development and facilitate improved treatment strategies in immuno-oncology and autoimmune disease.

Under the partnership, the parties will will develop and apply deep machine-learning to explore and establish biomarker models for relevant treatment-associated endpoints such as irAEs, clinical response, and/or survival.

Financial and other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

NEC Laboratories Europe general manager Saverio Niccolini said: “The field of machine learning and AI has witnessed dramatic progress over the last decade and will soon be a critical component for the analysis of patient data.

“Extensive biomarker guidance will be required to allocate patients to the most appropriate clinical trial and – after approval of novel treatments – deliver the best therapy to each patient. We would like to be involved in this process and look forward to the collaboration with the NCT and Protagen.”

As per NCT, Checkpoint inhibitors have enormous potential but also come with some challenges.

NCT expects to leverage the experience from its previous collaboration with the Germany-based biotechnology company,  in this project, to address the challenges posed by limited response rates and irAEs.

Protagen CEO Georg Lautscham said: “Immunotherapies are a new cornerstone in treating cancer patients. An important challenge is to understand which patients are most likely to respond or suffer from irAEs.

“Protagen has developed an immuno-profiling approach and machine learning strategies to deal with highly dimensional patient data to address this. We are convinced machine learning efforts will increasingly influence the field, and are excited that NEC and NCT share this view and look forward to advancing this approach together.”

Protagen said cancer immunotherapy offers enormous potential for the treatment of many cancer indications, including melanoma.

The company noted that even though stimulation of the immune system holds betetr promise for cancer treatment, several challenges remain, including a limited response rate and even resistance in some patients.