Biotech Strategy Blog

Commentary on Science, Innovation & New Products with a focus on Oncology, Hematology & Cancer Immunotherapy

Posts tagged ‘Autolus CAR T Cell Therapy’

Amsterdam – this weekend it’s time to showcase some important updates in hematology from the European Hematology Association (EHA).

It’s really hard not to like continental Europe when you see scenes like this from a major conference:

T cell lymphomas is not a topic we cover very often but it looks like it will receive attention here three times in a month with news from Corvus at ASCO and now an update on the intriguing story on CXCL12-positive AML and PTCL from Kura Oncology.

We’ve been following the latter story for a while now and after the previous looks at the rationale behind the translational data, it’s now time to explore what happens in clinical practice from their ongoing phase 2 clinical trial…

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London – last week a half day event at The Francis Crick Institute looked at three UK cell therapy companies that have been spun out of academic research from partner institutions, UCL and King’s College London.

Medicine at Crick Welcome

Professor Julian Downward welcomes everyone to The Crick

We heard from the CEOs of Achilles Therapeutics, GammaDelta Therapeutics and Autolus Therapeutics on how they are translating science into new adoptive cellular therapies.

There were also presentations from leading scientists whose research they are commercializing.

All three companies were founded in 2016, so the event was a fascinating snapshot as to where are they now, roughly 3 years on, what have they achieved and where are they going.

They vary in terms of their vision, innovation and their adoptive cellular therapy approach.

Autolus are developing autologous CAR-T cell therapies, GammaDelta Therapeutics are focusing on allogeneic Vδ1 gamma delta (ϒδ) T cells, while Achilles Therapeutics are targeting patient-derived clonal neoantigens.

If you couldn’t make this Medicine at the Crick event, what were some of the take home messages, and how do we think these companies compare to some of their competitors?

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The 2015 Annual Meeting of the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation (EBMT 2015) was held in Istanbul from March 22-25, where it offered a European perspective on some of the latest developments in cancer immunotherapy. 

EBMT 2015 banner

We’ve heard a lot in the United States about the early CAR T cell therapy clinical trial results from institutions such as UPenn, CHOP, MSKCC, Fred Hutchinson, Seattle Children’s, the NCI, and MD Anderson to name but a few, so it was good to see a leading a European center join the club: University College London (UCL).

While completing a Masters degree in Human and Applied Physiology at King’s College London, I spent several weeks training at UCL and particularly enjoyed the intercollegiality of the University of London.

At EBMT15, Dr Sara Ghorashian Clinical Training Fellow at the Insitute of Child Health at UCL, presented data on a phase 1 trial of Epstein Barr virus (EBV) specific T cells transduced with a first generation CD19 Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR). The trial data was first reported by Dr Ghorashian (pictured below) in an oral presentation at #ASH14 (Abstract 383).

Dr Sara Ghorashian ASH 2014

Dr Ghorashian stated at EBMT that UCL have several CAR T cell therapy trials planned.

autolus-logoReaders will be aware that earlier this year that UCL spun-off a series A funded company, Autolus, to commercialize their CAR T cell therapy research.

Although £30m from Syncona (a subsidiary of the Wellcome Trust) is not a lot of money by US investment standards, UCL is nonetheless a European center to watch if you have an interest in the CAR-T competitive landscape.

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