News of Note—New data for Fate’s off-the-shelf CAR-T in ALL; Nektar tests BMS-partnered drug in immuno-oncology combos; and more

Nurse about to give an infusion
Fate Therapeutics is developing a CAR-T treatment for cancer that would not need to be personalized to individual patients. (Getty/fotografixx)

Fate announces progress in off-the-shelf CAR-T

Novartis’s FDA-approved CAR-T treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), Kymriah, is personalized to individual patients and targets the surface antigen CD19. Fate Therapeutics has been working on an alternative to Kymriah that the company hopes will be able to be sold off-the-shelf, because it’s made from pluripotent stem cells. Fate’s CAR-T, called FT819, also targets a CD16 Fc receptor, which the company’s scientists believe will boost patient response to other cancer treatments, such as monoclonal antibodies that target tumor antigens. At the AACR conference, Fate presented preclinical data showing that FT819 selectively attacked CD19-positive tumor cells, and that when it was combined with a drug targeting another cancer antigen, CD20, it promoted the killing of tumor cells. Release

Nektar shows potential of combining BMS-partnered drug in several tumor types

In February, Bristol-Myers Squibb formed an historic $3.6 billion partnership with Nektar Therapeutics to develop NKTR-214, a therapy designed to stimulate the production and activity of cancer-fighting T cells. At the AACR conference, Nektar presented preclinical data that showed the potential of combining the drug with other therapies. For example, when the company combined NKTR-214 with Syndax’s entinostat, an HDAC inhibitor, it slowed tumor growth in models of colon and kidney cancer. The company also combined NKTR-214 with a novel toll-like receptor agonist, NKTR-262. The company presented preclinical data showing that it could generate cancer-killing T cells with NKTR-262 and then grow them with NKTR-214. Release

Amgen’s CAR-T targeting FLT3 could offer new attack on AML

FLT3 is a tyrosine kinase that’s prevalent in some cases of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Amgen developed a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) that targets this protein, as well as an FLT3-targeting bispecific T cell engager (BiTE). In a trial in nonhuman primates presented at AACR, the FLT3 BiTE produced a 97% reduction in FLT3-positive cells. Amgen scientists believe the results indicate the potential of using a FLT3-targeted CAR-T in people with AML. Abstract

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