LONDON—A three-way collaboration was announced today between the Cell Therapy Catapult, a U.K. organization dedicated to the growth of the U.K. cell and gene therapy industry by bridging the gap between scientific research and commercialization, the University of Birmingham and Cancer Research Technology, the commercialization arm of Cancer Research UK. The organizations will work together for the development of a new immuno-oncology cellular therapy based on gene-modifying T cells to target solid tumors. In conjunction with this work, the three partners have created a new company, Chimeric Therapeutics Ltd., which will hold all future intellectual property rights to any discoveries resulting from this deal.
The goal of the project is to translate an academic discovery program funded by Cancer Research UK and developed by Dr. Steven Lee and Prof .Roy Bicknell at the University of Birmingham into a commercially viable cell therapy.
Dr. Phil L’Huillier, Cancer Research Technology’s director of business development, said: “We’re very pleased to partner with the Cell Therapy Catapult and bring their extensive experience to bear on this project. This new partnership builds on a very successful relationship with the University of Birmingham. Immunotherapy is an exciting area in cancer treatment and this technology could provide a powerful route to harness the power of the immune system to block the development of blood vessels, and stop tumors growing.”
The project is based on a new generation chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) immuno-oncology therapy for solid tumors. This involves directing the CAR-T cell towards a new, highly specific marker of tumor angiogenesis, CLEC14a. This therapy will act as a vasculature disruptive agent compromising oxygen supply to the tumors and inhibiting tumor growth. The technology is currently undergoing the final stages of preclinical development, and is planned to enter into clinical trials soon after.
Cancer Research Technology and the University of Birmingham have partnered with The Cell Therapy Catapult to bring their regulatory, clinical, analytical and manufacturing process development expertise into the program, utilizing their experience in developing immunotherapies for cancer. The Cell Therapy Catapult will specifically be involved in the project to speed the translation of the academic discoveries made in Birmingham with Cancer Research Technology around CAR-T immunotherapies for solid tumors and the CLEC14a target toward a commercially available cell therapy.
“The Cell Therapy Catapult has extensive experience in working with early stage cell and gene therapies to develop them for clinical trial and commercialization. We are delighted to assist Cancer Research Technology and Birmingham University to form this new company, Chimeric Technologies and apply this new CAR-T target to address solid tumors for the benefit of patients,” Keith Thompson, CEO of the Cell Therapy Catapult, said in a press release. “The Cell Therapy Catapult look forward to developing partnerships with other Cancer Research UK supported academic groups.”
“Scientists at University of Birmingham have demonstrated that these new engineered CAR-T cells exhibit anti-tumor effects, and therefore have considerable potential as a therapy,” added David Coleman, Head of Spinout Portfolio for the University of Birmingham. “We’re delighted to be working with Cancer Research Technology and the Cell Therapy Catapult, through this new spinout company, Chimeric Therapeutics Limited, in order to develop the technology further and into clinical trials.”
SOURCE: Cell Therapy Catapult press release