Avacta joins major US cancer centre for CAR-T immunotherapy development

pharmafile | November 2, 2016 | News story | Research and Development Avacta, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center 

Biotherapeutic and research reagent developer Avacta has announced it will collaborate with New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK, pictured) to develop novel CAR-T cell-based immunotherapy solutions.

CAR-T immunotherapy is a developing area of cancer treatment which uses the body’s T cells to attack cancer cells; Actava’s own antibody alternative Affimer promises significant advantages over standard antibody fragment technology currently used in the treatment. This new partnership hopes to develop new forms of treatment in this field which incorporate Affimer molecules.

Avacta will develop Affimer molecules that bind different regions of CD19, a surface protein specific to B-cells involved in lymphomas. MSK will then construct CAR-T cells incorporating these molecules and test their efficacy in animal models.

The union will be led by Renier J. Brentjens, director of Cellular Oncology at MSK, with ownership of results generated being shared equally by both partners.

“CAR-T cell therapy is an emerging and very exciting area of immuno-oncology which holds enormous clinical potential,” Avacta Group Chief Executive Alastair Smith. “We are delighted to be working with a world-leading team in the field to demonstrate the benefits that Affimer technology could bring to CAR-T therapy. The generation of positive data in these validated models of disease has the potential to open up highly valuable licensing and partnering opportunities for Avacta in this therapy area which has attracted so much attention in the past couple of years.”

Matt Fellows

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