Published 20th June 2017

Cell Medica acquires Catapult Therapy TCR Limited

Touchstone Innovations, the  leading UK technology commercialisation company, notes the sale of its company Catapult Therapy TCR Limited (TCR), a company focused on a novel cell therapy approach to the treatment of acute myeloid leukaemia and other blood cancers, to Cell Medica Limited, a business focused on developing and manufacturing personalised cellular immunotherapeutics for cancer and infectious diseases. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Catapult Therapy TCR Limited is a joint venture set up by The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, Imperial Innovations and UCL Business. It focused on the development of a gene-modified WT1 TCR T cell therapy, which targets acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) cells known to over-express the antigen WT1. It represents a novel treatment approach in a therapeutic area where prognosis is often poor and therapeutic options limited. The WT1 antigen is also present on a variety of solid tumours, giving this treatment broader therapeutic potential.

The technology underpinning TCR was developed initially at Imperial College London and then at University College London by scientists funded by the charity Bloodwise. In 2016, TCR announced positive interim results from its phase I/II trial in using a T-cell therapy to target acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).

Catapult Therapy TCR Limited and its intellectual property will be acquired in full by Cell Medica, which is part of Touchstone Innovations’ portfolio of companies. Cell Medica raised a £60 million funding round earlier in 2017.

The acquisition will enable the further development and commercialisation of this innovative treatment. The development of next-generation T cells will be conducted by Cell Medica at CGT Catapult’s large-scale cell and gene therapy manufacturing centre located at the Stevenage BioScience Catalyst in Hertfordshire, following a grant awarded earlier this year by Innovate UK

Tony Hickson, Managing Director of Imperial Innovations Limited, said:

“This project provides a case study for two leading UK universities working together alongside a Catapult to translate their high quality research outputs into clinical stage advanced therapeutics. The fact that this JV has now been sold to one of the UK’s leading cell therapy companies, and that further government funding and investment in new facilities will be leveraged to continue development demonstrates the best of the UK’s excellent bioscience ecosystem.”