Cell Therapy Catapult eyes gene and cell therapy partnerships


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Image: the-lightwriter/iStock
Image: the-lightwriter/iStock

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The Cell Therapy Catapult (CTC) UK is in talks over gene and cell therapy partnerships similar to its latest deal with Cancer Research Technology and the University of Birmingham, says Chief Business Officer Matthew Durdy.

The deal -- announced today -- sees the launch of a new company Chimeric Therapeutics to develop a preclinical chimeric antigen receptor T-Cell (CAR-T) immuno-oncology therapy for solid tumours, targeting tumour angiogenesis marker CLEC14a. CTC is providing services and expertise in exchange for an equity stake in the new business, Durdy explained.

Discussions are ongoing with other academia, charities and start-up companies for deals whereby CTC could provide services such as commercialisation advice or preclinical expertise to the partner, either in exchange for equity in resulting businesses, as a fee-for-service or a combination of the two, he noted.

New deals in the pipeline could potentially include one in the cardiovascular/ metabolic arena over the next three to six months, he said.

The agreement with Chimeric involves equity, primarily, he added.

CTC's remit is to invest in early stage projects in order to drive the UK cell and gene therapy industries, Durdy said.  Areas of cell therapy and gene therapy research which are still early in development are the key target for deal-making, he said.

Gene therapy in particular is rapidly developing, he said, noting CTC would be interested in discussions with academic and university partners in the space where there is potential to spin out therapies as companies.  

The immune therapy sector may have less need of the catapult's investment, however, since it is now attracting investor attention from other third parties, he said.

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