Portfolio company Cell Medica, a leader in cellular immunotherapy for cancer, has expanded its partnership with Baylor College of Medicine (‘Baylor’) to develop an off-the-shelf allogeneic cell therapy, taking advantage of the unique aspects of invariant natural killer T (NKT) cells.
This new project will be conducted under the exclusive license and co-development agreement between Cell Medica and Baylor, announced in June 2016. Under the agreement, Baylor will perform the research required to develop off-the-shelf NKT cell therapies with funding and strategic input from Cell Medica. Cell Medica will have an exclusive option to develop all products and technologies arising from this effort, under the terms of the licensing agreement. As announced previously, Cell Medica and Baylor expect that their collaboration will generate a significant number of new products for Cell Medica’s pipeline.
Currently, immunotherapy products need to be prepared separately for each individual patient. These use T-cells, naturally programmed to kill cancer cells, that are further engineered to improve their efficacy. An off-the-shelf product, made from healthy donors' T-cells, could identify the patient's healthy cells as targets, whouch could lead to a serious side effect called graft versus host disease (GvHD). This new collaboration will seek to overcome this issue.
Gregg Sando, CEO of Cell Medica said:
“Creating a safe and effective off-the-shelf product that can be used in multiple patients would unlock the full potential of cellular immunotherapy for the treatment of cancer. The addition of this exciting new project to our co-development program shows how we can continue to leverage the strong research capability and industry know-how captured within this collaboration.”