Cell therapy weekly: Collaboration to produce CAR-Treg cells for autoimmune conditions

Also this week: Master iPSC bank to be produced by CCRM and US FDA signals support for CAR-T against follicular lymphoma.

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The news highlights:

Collaboration to produce allogeneic CAR-Treg cells for autoimmune conditions
Master iPSC bank to be produced by CCRM and panCELLa
US FDA signals support for Novartis’s CAR-T therapy against follicular lymphoma

Collaboration to produce allogeneic CAR-Treg cells for autoimmune conditions

Mogrify (Cambridge, UK) and Sangamo (CA, USA) have announced a collaboration to create a new allogeneic CAR-Treg product. By utilizing Mogrify’s induced pluripotent and embryonic stem cell knowledge to produce allogeneic regulatory T-cells, Sangamo seeks to develop the CAR-Treg therapy with their proprietary zinc-finger nuclease platform. The new regulatory T-cell therapy will be aimed at treating inflammatory or autoimmune conditions, further expanding the uses of CAR-T products.  

“This license agreement provides Sangamo with access to Mogrify’s cell conversion technology, which will diversify our options as we develop off-the-shelf, allogeneic CAR-Treg cell therapies,” explained Jason Fontenot, Head of Cell Therapy at Sangamo. “We expect this collaboration to accelerate our development of scalable and accessible CAR-Treg cell therapies so that we can potentially deliver treatments to patients with inflammatory and autoimmune diseases more rapidly.”

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Master iPSC bank to be produced by CCRM and panCELLa

A new collaboration agreement between panCELLa (ON, Canada) and the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM; ON, Canada) will seek to generate commercial and clinical grade-induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines for industry and academia. The ‘master cell bank’ will include lines that are able to evade the immune system, utilizing panCELLa’s Stealth Cells™ technology, and could open up access to the production of allogeneic therapies.  

“panCELLa is an innovative company and a key partner in our local ecosystem. We’re pleased to support their efforts to develop novel engineered cell lines that will enable multiple indications representing significant unmet needs,” stated Michael May, President and CEO of CCRM. “This collaboration will also support other companies in our network, as CCRM and panCELLa will work together to make these high-quality cGMP lines available to the global biotechnology community.”   

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US FDA signals support for Novartis’s CAR-T therapy against follicular lymphoma

Novartis (Basel, Switzerland) has had their novel CAR-T therapy, Kymriah®, designated as a Regenerative Medicine Advanced Therapy (RMAT) by the US FDA (MD, USA) for the treatment of follicular lymphoma. This is the third indication for Kymriah, following previous successes in the treatment of relapse/refractory young adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia and relapse/refractory adult diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.

The designation is the result of the preliminary Phase II clinical trial, ELARA, and will allow expedited development of the therapy due to the unmet need in treating follicular lymphoma.

“This designation supports the advancement of Kymriah, which could potentially address an unmet need in certain patients with follicular lymphoma, as we strive to reimagine medicine at Novartis. These patients are often faced with the burden of several years of various treatments as their disease continues to progress,” commented John Tsai, Head of Global Drug Development and Chief Medical Officer at Novartis.

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