We acquired exclusive worldwide rights to three clinical stage, “off-the-shelf” T-cell product candidates from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK).
Activated T-cells are designed to harness the power of the immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells and cells infected with certain viruses. T-cells may be effective even after failure of multiple other agents, and may avoid the toxicities of current treatments in patients with cancers and serious viral infections. EBV-CTLs and CMV-CTLs are currently in Phase 2 clinical trials and WT1-CTLs are currently in Phase 1 clinical studies.
The EBV-, CMV- and WT1-targeted CTLs share a common technology in which third-party donor-derived white blood cells are collected via leukapheresis (white blood cell collection) and are then enriched for T-cells. The T-cells are exposed to certain antigens (proteins that are recognized and attacked by the immune system), and the resulting activated T-cells are characterized and stored for future therapeutic use. Using proprietary cell line selection algorithms, patients in the clinical trials receive partially human leukocyte antigen (HLA) matched cell lines, providing an “off-the-shelf,” allogeneic, product candidate for patients. The technology underlying these programs provides a potential platform for future discovery and development as T-cells can be directed at a broad range of other targets to create future product candidates.