Adicet Bio reels in $80M to push lymphoma program into the clinic

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With partner Regeneron, Adicet Bio is engineering gamma delta cells with chimeric antigen receptors and T-cell receptors so they can precisely target tumor cells. (Pixabay)

Five months after signing on its new CEO, Adicet Bio picked up $80 million in series B financing to develop a suite of allogeneic, or “off-the-shelf" T-cell therapies for blood cancers and solid tumors. The cash will push a treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma into the clinic and support the development of Adicet’s gamma delta T-cell platform. 

Adicet raised $51 million in its series A round in 2016, and those investors—OrbiMed, Novartis Venture Fund and Pontifax—returned for round 2, joining Moon2 Fund, Regeneron, Johnson & Johnson’s JJDC, OCI Enterprises, KB Investment, Consensus Business Group, SBI JI Innovation Fund, Handok, DSC Investment and Samsung Venture Investment. 

The Menlo Park, California-based biotech focuses on gamma delta T cells rather than the alpha beta T cells currently used in autologous T-cell treatments, that is, treatments made from a patient’s own cells. Adicet believes using gamma delta cells can expand the use of engineered T-cell treatments, which, so far, have worked well in some blood cancers but seen limited success in solid tumors. 

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Gamma delta cells aren’t widely used in autologous T-cell treatments because they make up between 1% and 5% of peripheral blood cells—the cells taken from a patient to manufacture their medicine. Adicet has created a “robust” method to activate, engineer and expand different types of gamma delta cells to build “cell banks” that can be used off the shelf to treat many patients. 

With partner Regeneron, Adicet is engineering gamma delta cells with chimeric antigen receptors and T-cell receptors so they can precisely target tumor cells. In addition to its lead program in non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the company is working on treatments for solid tumors. 

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"Gamma delta T cells are a highly promising, emerging modality for treating cancer," said Adicet CEO Anil Singhal, Ph.D., in a statement. "This financing will permit Adicet to continue to develop our proprietary technology, to enter the clinic in Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and to advance our solid tumor programs. We are gratified with the support of the investment community." 

Singhal joined Adicet in April, ending the company’s yearlong stint without a permanent CEO. Aya Jakobovits, Ph.D.—the company’s founding CEO, and also the founding CEO of Kite Pharma—retired from her post in March 2018, leaving executive chairman Donald Santel as Adicet’s interim chief.