Cytovia Therapeutics Partners Enters Research & Licensing Agreement With Inserm
Cytovia Therapeutics recently announced it has entered a research and licensing agreement with Inserm to develop NK engager bi-specific antibodies and iPSC CAR NK cell therapy targeting CD38, a key marker of multiple myeloma. The licensing agreement has been negotiated and signed by Inserm Transfert, the private subsidiary of Inserm, on behalf of Inserm (the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research) and its academic partners. Cytovia is licensing Inserm’s CD38 antibody and Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) patent and applying its proprietary NK engager bispecific antibody and iPSC CAR NK technology platforms. The research agreement will include evaluation of the therapeutic candidates at Hôpital Saint-Louis’ Research Institute (Inserm Unit 976) under the leadership of Professors Armand Bensussan and Jean-Christophe Bories.
Dr. Daniel Teper, Cytovia’s Chairman and CEO, said “We are delighted to partner with one of the top centers of excellence in the world for research and treatment in hematology. CD38 is a validated target and Natural Killer cells have significant cytotoxicity to Myeloma cells. We are looking forward to bringing promising new options to address the unmet needs of patients with Multiple Myeloma and aim for a cure.”
Professor Armand Bensussan, Director of The Immuno-Oncology Research Institute at Hôpital Saint-Louis added “We have demonstrated the selectivity of our novel CD38 antibody in killing myeloma cells but not normal cells such as NK, T, and B cells. The activation of NK cells through NKp46 may enhance the efficacy of the bispecific antibody in patients not responsive to CD38 monoclonal antibody therapy. CD38 CAR NK is a promising approach for relapsed/refractory patients and an alternative to CAR T therapies.”
Multiple Myeloma is a currently incurable cancer, affecting a type of white blood cell known as plasma cells. It leads to an accumulation of tumor cells in the bone marrow, rapidly outnumbering healthy blood cells. Instead of producing beneficial antibodies, cancerous cells release abnormal proteins causing several complications. While symptoms are not always present, the majority of patients are diagnosed due to symptoms such as bone pain or fracture, low red blood cell counts, fatigue, high calcium levels, kidney problems, and infections. According to the World Cancer Research Fund, Multiple Myeloma is the second most common blood cancer, with nearly 160,000 new annual cases worldwide, including close to 50,000 in Europe. 32,000 in the US, and 30,000 in Eastern Asia. Over 95% of cases are diagnosed late, with a 5-year survival rate of 51%. Initial treatment comprises of a combination of different therapies, including biological and targeted therapies, corticosteroids, and chemotherapy, with the option for bone marrow transplants for eligible patients. Immunotherapy and cell therapy are the most promising new treatment option for Multiple Myeloma, with the potential for long term cancer remission.
Chimeric Antigen Receptors (CARs) are fusion proteins that combine an extracellular antigen recognition domain with an intracellular co-stimulatory signaling domain. Natural Killer (NK) cells are modified genetically to allow insertion of a CAR. CAR-NK cell therapy has demonstrated initial clinical relevance without the limitations of CAR-T, such as Cytokine Release Syndrome, neurotoxicity or Graft vs Host Disease (GVHD). Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSC)-derived CAR-NKs are naturally allogeneic, available off-the-shelf and may be able to be administered on an outpatient basis. Recent innovative developments with the iPSC, an innovative technology, allow large quantities of homogeneous genetically modified CAR NK cells to be produced from a master cell bank, and thus hold promise to expand access to cell therapy for many patients.
Cytovia Therapeutics Inc is an emerging biotechnology company that aims to accelerate patient access to transformational immunotherapies, addressing several of the most challenging unmet medical needs in cancer and severe acute infectious diseases. Cytovia focuses on Natural Killer (NK) cell biology and is leveraging multiple advanced patented technologies, including an induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) platform for CAR (Chimeric Antigen Receptors) NK cell therapy, next-generation precision gene-editing to enhance targeting of NK cells, and NK engager multi-functional antibodies. Our initial product portfolio focuses on both hematological malignancies, such as multiple myeloma and solid tumors, including hepatocellular carcinoma and glioblastoma. The company partners with the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF), the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and CytoImmune Therapeutics. For more information, visit www.cytoviatx.com.
Founded in 1964, the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) is a public science and technology institute, jointly supervised by the French Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research, and the Ministry of Social Affairs, Health and Women’s Rights. Inserm is the only French public research institute to focus entirely on human health and position itself on the pathway from the research laboratory to the patient’s bedside. The mission of its scientists is to study all diseases, from the most common to the rarest. With an initial 2020 budget of €927.28 million, Inserm supports nearly 350 laboratories throughout France, with a team of nearly 14,000 researchers, engineers, technicians, and post-doctoral students. For more information, visit www.inserm.fr.
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