Industry updates with Dusko Ilic: December 2019
Read highlights from the latest installment of Dusko Ilic’s industry updates, which discuss the latest developments and news in regenerative medicine and stem cell research, and are published every month in Regenerative Medicine.
Every month, Dusko comments on news of note. Read the full update for December 2019 in Regenerative Medicine here>>
What happened this month that you were expecting?
Bristol-Myers Squibb (NJ, USA) and Bluebird Bio (MA, USA) have announced encouraging results from several ongoing studies: TRANSCEND NHL 001, an investigational CD19-directed CAR-T cell therapy with a defined composition of purified CD8+ and CD4+ CAR-T cells for relapsed/refractory large B-cell lymphomas; KarMMa, an investigational BCMA-targeted CAR-T cell therapy candidate for patients with relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma; and the CRB-402 trial of bb21217, a Phase I BCMA-targeted CAR-T cell therapy in patients with relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma. With all these positive data, they deserve to feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the year.
What happened that surprised you this month?
The strategic decision of Charles River Laboratories International (MA, USA) to jump on the stem cell bandwagon is an example of doing the right thing. The addition of HemaCare’s (CA, USA) cellular products to Charles River Laboratories and their partnership with Bit Bio (Cambridge, UK) – a company that offers consistent and efficient reprogramming of human cells for use in research, drug discovery and cell therapies, utilizing their proprietary gene engineering approach of optimized inducible over-expression – will enhance their portfolio and ability to provide a comprehensive service.
If we only read about one story this month, what should it be?
Everyone likes success stories. Abeona Therapeutics, a gene and cell therapy company from Texas (USA), is one of them. US FDA (MD, USA) gave them clearance to proceed with the VIITAL™ study, a Phase III clinical trial evaluating EB-101 in the treatment of recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa, a rare genetic disorder of type VII collagen deficiency that lacks an approved therapy.
The FDA removed the clinical hold following the company’s submission of additional data points on the transport stability of EB-101 to clinical sites. Shortly after, Abeona has closed its underwritten public offering, with a gross offering size of approximately US$103.5 million.
Dusko Ilic is a Senior Lecturer in stem cell science, coordinator of the cross-divisional postgraduate program in stem cells and regenerative medicine, and Head of the Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Core Facility at King's College London (London, UK). He is also Head of the Assisted Conception Unit's Human Embryonic Laboratories at Guy’s Hospital (London, UK). He is also a member of the editorial board of the journal Regenerative Medicine, where he writes the Industry Report, a regular feature compiling information from non-academic institutions in the field of stem cells and regenerative medicine