Neon partners up with CRISPR Therapeutics for I-O work

This comes after a strong year for Neon, with a big Series B and positive cancer vaccine data last week

It’s been a good week for Neon: After posting positive cancer vaccine data a few days ago, the Fierce 15 winner has signed a new R&D pact with gene-editing biotech CRISPR Therapeutics.

In a brief update, the pair said that the “research collaboration [will] explore the combination of each company’s proprietary technologies to develop novel T cell therapies.”

CRISPR, which went public last year, is currently working on early-stage CRISPR/Cas9 technology that could change the way many diseases, from cancer to sickle cell disease are treated, while Neon is working on neoantigen vaccines – a new form of personalized immunotherapy in which antigens that are found in diseased tissues but not normally in healthy patients are used to develop targeted vaccines.

FREE DAILY NEWSLETTER

Like this story? Subscribe to FierceBiotech!

Biopharma is a fast-growing world where big ideas come along every day. Our subscribers rely on FierceBiotech as their must-read source for the latest news, analysis and data in the world of biotech and pharma R&D. Sign up today to get biotech news and updates delivered to your inbox and read on the go.

Neon's peptide-based vaccine (NEO-PV-01) is made from up to 20 antigens harvested from patients' own tumor cells, and last week it posted data from a small study of six patients with melanoma who were given the vaccine at around the same time as they underwent surgery to remove the tumor in a bid to prevent recurrence.

More than 70% of the peptides successfully generated measurable immune responses, and after over two years of followup, four of the six patients were recurrence-free.

Cancer vaccines have largely failed to deliver on their early promise in the clinic, but these data, coupled with positive results also coming from an RNA-based vaccine developed by BioNTech last week, has boosted confidence in this research area.

RELATED: Fierce 15 winner Neon Therapeutics

“Neon Therapeutics is committed to employ leading technologies, including CRISPR/Cas9, to improve the quality of our cell therapy approaches,” said Richard Gaynor, M.D., president of research and development at Neon.

“This collaboration will explore gene-based technologies from CRISPR Therapeutics with our expertise in neoantigen science and T cell biology.”

Back in January, the company also said it raised a chunky $70 million in its series B round, and has also combined its candidate with Bristol-Myers Squibb's checkpoint inhibitor Opdivo (nivolumab); data from that early test should be out before the year’s end.

Samarth Kulkarni, president and chief business officer of CRISPR Therapeutics, added: “We look forward to applying our proprietary CRISPR/Cas9 technologies in a variety of ways to generate potent T cell therapies directed against neoantigens. This collaboration with Neon Therapeutics supplements our internal efforts in immuno-oncology and broadens the spectrum of approaches we are able to explore.”

Suggested Articles

The FDA has cleared Drawbridge Health’s blood collection device designed to help monitor long-term blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.

Rachel Humphrey, M.D., who joined CytomX as chief medical officer after heading immuno-oncology at AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly, has made her exit.

FierceMedTech Fierce 15 winner 10x Genomics announced its plans for a $100 million IPO, on the Nasdaq using the symbol TXG.