Cell therapy weekly: LabCorp launch cell and gene therapy development platform

Also this week: New CAR-T trial for AML, UCART123, doses first patient and 12% of cell and gene therapy trials are based in the UK.

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Jan 16, 2020
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The news highlights:

LabCorp launch cell and gene therapy development platform
New CAR-T trial for AML, UCART123, doses first patient
12% of cell and gene therapy trials are based in the UK

LabCorp launch cell and gene therapy development platform

LabCorp (NC, USA), the leading global life science company, have released their new suite of cell and gene therapy solutions via their drug development arm, Covance (NC, USA). Designed to address a range of issues during therapy development, Covance aim to offer a coordinated approach, from pharmacology and safety assessments through to long-term follow-up studies.

"With approximately one-third of biopharma's pipeline focused on precision medicines, it becomes even more critical to find innovative ways to help our customers speed these transformational therapies to the patients who need them," commented Paul Kirchgraber, the chief executive officer of Covance. "Covance has made ongoing investments in people, processes and technologies targeting cell and gene therapies. We are also growing our capabilities and capacity by forming strategic partnerships and making key acquisitions, such as our purchase in early 2019 of MI Bioresearch (MI, USA), a contract research organization specializing in nonclinical oncology testing, with a focus on immunotherapies and adoptive T-cell therapeutic approaches."

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New CAR-T trial for AML, UCART123, doses first patient

Cellectis (NY, USA) begin their Phase I clinical trial to combat relapsed/refractory acute myeloid leukemia utilizing a gene-edited CAR-T therapy. The first patient has now been dosed with their new UCART123 therapy as part of the Investigation New Drug trial, which aims to evaluate the safety, persistence and clinical activity of the product.

“Cellectis invented and has pioneered the allogeneic approach for many years,” explained André Choulika, Chairman and CEO of Cellectis. “Being a leader of the space, it’s important for us to consistently improve our technology and manufacturing expertise to remain at the forefront. With this new [Investigation New Drug], we are delivering on our promise of continual innovation in order to advance the efforts of our clinical trials. We hope that with this optimized production process, our UCART123 product candidate will be well equipped to help people living with AML.” 

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12% of cell and gene therapy trials are based in the UK

The Gene and Cell Therapy Catapult (UK) have reported that the UK accounts for 12% of global cell and gene therapy clinical trials. Obtained from the 2019 UK Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products Clinical Trials Database, the data show an increase of 45% compared to 2018, with 77% being sponsored by commercial organizations, suggesting that the UK is providing a fertile environment for the therapies to develop and reach patients.

“The total number of cell and gene therapy clinical trials in the UK has been increasing consistently by an average of 25% year on year since 2013,” explained Keith Thompson, Chief Executive Officer of the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult. “This has been enabled by the development of the UK’s fantastic ecosystem to support the development and clinical adoption of cell and gene therapies. The infrastructure and initiatives that have been put in place, with strong backing by the government, including the Advanced Therapy Treatment Centers network, are giving companies the confidence to setup and run their innovative clinical studies here. The result, is that we are now seeing therapies moving from academic projects towards becoming commercial products that can be delivered at scale by the NHS.” 

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For more weekly cell therapy news, read previous editions of the cell therapy weekly.

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