Af­ter Ro­va-T bust, Ab­b­Vie plans new sol­id tu­mor as­sault, li­cens­ing next-gen CAR-T tech from Cal­i­br

Af­ter its dis­ap­point­ing Ro­va-T flop last month, Ab­b­Vie is shoring up its sol­id tu­mor bets with a fresh­ly inked re­search deal that should elic­it new strate­gies for tu­mor at­tack. This time, Ab­b­Vie is hop­ing to use po­ten­tial­ly safer, next-gen CAR-Ts that have been cook­ing in the labs of a San Diego re­search in­sti­tute for the past few years.

The phar­ma gi­ant is buy­ing an ex­clu­sive four-year li­cense to tech de­vel­oped at the Cal­i­for­nia In­sti­tute for Bio­med­ical Re­search — bet­ter known as Cal­i­br — to in­ter­ro­gate some of its own can­cer tar­gets, in­clud­ing sol­id tu­mors. Cal­i­br is bring­ing to the ta­ble a plat­form based on a “switch­able” CAR-T cell. I talked with Travis Young, Cal­i­br’s di­rec­tor of pro­tein sci­ences, last Fri­day to find out what that ac­tu­al­ly means. Young tells me it’s about re­duc­ing tox­i­c­i­ty and get­ting a more durable re­sponse from CAR-Ts, which are known to cause safe­ty is­sues.

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