Adaptimmune pledges $312M for Noile-Immune's T cell boosting tech in drive to deliver on TCR promise
When Adrian Rawcliffe officially steps into the CEO role at Adaptimmune in a few days, he will have a new partnership to execute in one of his first efforts to shore up some enthusiasm for its T cell therapy programs.
In a $312 million pact, the US-UK hybrid biotech has enlisted Noile-Immune for a next-generation project that will boost Adaptimmune’s SPEAR T cells with the Japanese company’s PRIME platform. In addition to the receptors engineered into the T cells, the resulting product would be armed with the cytokines IL-7 and CCL19.
Noile-Immune has been applying their technology — invented by Koji Tamada of Yamaguchi University — to CAR-T cells, previously inking a co-development deal with Takeda.
Not only does PRIME make the engineered cells more potent, it may also enhance the ability of the patient’s native T cells to fight solid tumors, according to Karen Miller, Adaptimmune’s SVP of pipeline research.
“We recently started our Phase 2 trial in sarcoma called SPEARHEAD-1 as well as the SURPASS trial, our first next-generation product clinical trial. We will continue to develop enhanced products with the aim of increasing the efficacy and durability of anti-tumor responses,” she added in a statement.
It’s crunch time for Adaptimmune. Once a darling in the I/O crowd with a budding TCR tech, its support on Wall Street has been waning since its $191 million public debut in 2015, which in turn followed a high profile $350 million collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline. The stock opened at $1.47 today, a precipitous fall from last fall’s peak of $13.9. As founder James Noble passes the reins to CFO Rawcliffe — a GSK vet — the theme now is to make things happen.
Adaptimmune will now work with Noile-Immune on preclinical work around a number of targets, with a goal to enter the clinic by 2021. That will all happen under a new CMO and R&D president after Rafael Amado hit the exit earlier this month.
At last count the company had about $35 million in cash on hand and $133 million in liquidity, giving it a runway that extends into the third quarter of next year.
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