Two Bay Area upstarts out to deliver on cell therapy 2.0 join forces on a quest: pursuing a Holy Grail in oncology R&D
The first time Lyell CEO Rick Klausner looked at what PACT Pharma was trying to accomplish with neoantigens, non-viral T cell engineering and cancer, he felt they couldn’t get it done. But in the 3 years since they’ve launched, Klausner has become a believer.
Now, he’s a believer and a partner.
Early Thursday morning, Klausner and PACT CEO Alex Franzusoff announced a plan to jointly pursue one of the Holy Grails of oncology R&D. Blending their technologies and bringing a wide network of leading experts to the table, the two companies are working on a personalized T cell therapy for solid tumors. And an IND is in the offing.
The collaboration joins the Lyell team, which has been concentrating on overcoming the exhaustion that afflicts the first generation of cell therapies, with a PACT group that has developed tech to identify a patient’s unique signature of cancer mutations and use a non-viral method to engineer their T cells into cancer therapies.
I spent some time on Wednesday talking with Klausner and Franzusoff about the deal, which comes with an undisclosed set of financials as Lyell invests in the alliance.
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