Adaptimmune, MD Anderson do I/O deal in T-cell receptors


British biotech Adaptimmune Therapeutics ($ADAP) has partnered with MD Anderson Cancer Center to develop novel adoptive T-cell therapies for use across several types of cancer. Preclinical and clinical teams from the research center will work with Adaptimmune’s SPEAR (Specific Peptide Enhanced Affinity Receptor) T-cell technology platform to find targets on solid and hematologic cancers against which to develop affinity enhanced T-cell receptors (TCRs).

The financial terms weren’t disclosed for the multi-year deal, but the teams will collaborate in areas including targeting MAGE-A10, as well as MAGE-A4 is cancers including bladder, lung, ovarian, head and neck, melanoma, esophageal and gastric. The partners will also research new TCR therapies in breast cancer.

“We believe that this strategic alliance will provide a strong partnership for the development of multiple new first and subsequent generation SPEAR T-cell therapies against many intractable solid tumors in our near-term clinical programs,” said Adaptimmune CMO Rafael Amado in a statement. 

He continued “It will also generate invaluable data from patient samples that will help us understand these therapies and design the next generation of studies. We…are confident that together we can move these novel immunotherapeutic candidates forward for patients who are fighting a variety of cancers.”

The researchers will use MD Anderson’s tumor repository to guide target selection and clinical trial design, as well as draw on its technology to optimize the efficacy and safety of SPEAR T-cell therapies.

Adaptimmune’s lead program is a SPEAR T-cell therapy that targets the NY-ESO cancer antigen; it has already been in Phase I/II testing in solid tumors and in hematologic cancer types, including synovial sarcoma and multiple myeloma. The NY-ESO TCR program is partnered with GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK); it was placed on a partial clinical hold in a pivotal trial by FDA this summer.

The Oxford, U.K.-based company also has the MAGE-A10 and AFP cancer antigens, which both have open INDs, as well as the MAGE-A4 cancer antigen, which is in preclinical research with IND acceptance slated for next year.

The biotech has identified more than 30 intracellular target peptides that are preferentially expressed in cancer cells. It has 12 unpartnered research programs and more than 250 employees.

“It is our hope this alliance will allow us to address numerous solid tumors and augment the patient’s immune system, directing it against tumors based on their specific molecular makeup,” summed up associate professor of Investigational Cancer Therapeutics at MD Anderson Dr. David Hong.