Last night Luke Timmerman of Xconomy posted a nice article on the formation of a new Seattle startup, Juno Therapeutics, which aims to develop the chimeric antigen receptor therapy (CART) based on autologous T cells developed by Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) in New York, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center (FHCC) and the Seattle Children’s Hospital, both in Seattle.
Juno secured $120M in Series A funding, which is pretty good for a two month old startup and shows how much excitement there is for this exciting technology.
How does this new development impact the CART landscape and in particular, the U Penn and Novartis partnership?
As cancer becomes increasing complex with adaptive responses to therapeutic intervention, so our knowledge and strategies for overcoming it must also adapt and improve. Immunotherapy – in several forms – is probably the hottest topic on the landscape at the moment with both checkpoint inhibitors and chimeric antigen receptor technology (CART) vying for air time and attention but where are these approaches going and how can we harness the immune system more effectively?
One of the things I like most about AACR meetings is that there are nearly always some strategic gems emerging from the scientist-physician thought leaders if only you stop to think about how the field can rapidly change by looking at the early patterns that are emerging.
Here’s the first part of a synopsis of what I learned at the recent Molecular Targets meeting in Boston, some of these findings may well have a major impact on cancer research over the next few years…