(L to R) Orca Bio co-founders Jeroen Bekaert, Ivan Dimov and Nate Fernhoff

ASH: A cell ther­a­py start­up with roots in Irv Weiss­man­'s lab near­ly wipes out a chron­ic side ef­fect in ear­ly tri­als

While a hematopoi­et­ic stem cell trans­plant is the best op­tion for some pa­tients with blood can­cer, the pro­ce­dure can lead to dan­ger­ous com­pli­ca­tions, such as graft-ver­sus-host dis­ease. Three en­tre­pre­neurs launched Or­ca Bio a few years ago with a po­ten­tial so­lu­tion — and at ASH, they un­veiled some ear­ly da­ta show­ing pa­tients in two tri­als were large­ly able to avoid the dev­as­tat­ing side ef­fect.

Just 3% of pa­tients on Or­ca-T — Or­ca Bio’s sec­ond gen­er­a­tion evo­lu­tion of cur­rent cell ther­a­pies for blood dis­or­ders —  ex­pe­ri­enced mod­er­ate-to-se­vere chron­ic GvHD in two stud­ies, com­pared to 43% of pa­tients who re­ceived stan­dard of care al­lo­gene­ic hematopoi­et­ic stem cell trans­plants (al­loHSCT), the biotech an­nounced on Sat­ur­day.

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Life Sciences Senior Associate

General Catalyst

San Francisco, CA, USA