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Adaptimmune shares boosted by new signs of success with TCR cell therapy

Rafael Amado

One of the big biotech stock movers Thursday was Adaptimmune, a UK-based biotech that saw its shares gyrate up about 25% after the company touted fresh evidence that its TCR cell therapy tech showed early signs of working in a second solid tumor indication.

In what’s become a routine practice in immuno-oncology, Adaptimmune $ADAP made hay from the first glimpse of data from the first four patients treated with its NY-ESO SPEAR T-cells for myxoid/round cell liposarcoma, or MRCLS.

Researchers tracked two confirmed and one unconfirmed partial tumor responses in the first group, with the fourth patient stable.

By itself, that may not look like much, but it was actual human data to indicate that their platform approach to solid tumors — a tough hurdle in cell therapies — has real potential across multiple tumors.

Adaptimmune R&D chief Rafael Amado put it like this:

Although MRCLS is a soft tissue sarcoma which commonly expresses NY-ESO, there are fundamental differences in its clinical course, natural history, molecular signature, and responsiveness to standard treatments that make it distinct from synovial sarcoma. As we expect data from our other trials with our wholly owned assets throughout 2018, these results in a second solid tumor strengthen our conviction that our pipeline of unique TCRs will be capable of addressing multiple solid tumors.

GlaxoSmithKline $GSK is in the process of bringing this program in-house after picking up its option in a deal that could be worth $61 million to Adaptimmune just through the transition phase.

This TCR tech revolves around reengineering T-cell receptors so that they can recognize cancer proteins, triggering an assault on solid and liquid tumors. GSK’s move is part of a new offensive on the oncology front as CEO Emma Walmsley looks to revive a moribund R&D group.


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