The co-development agreement sees the Houston, Texas-based Baylor College of Medicine perform the research required to develop off-the-shelf natural killer T (NKT) cell therapies with UK biotech Cell Medica funding the project.
“This particular off-the-shelf project is in the pre-clinical research stages,” a Cell Medica spokesperson told Biopharma-Reporter.com. “It has emerged from the collaboration that Cell Medica and Baylor started in June this year.”
The allogeneic NKT cells are being developed to be used to treat multiple cancer patients and the collaboration is looking to avoid the risk of graft versus host disease (GvHD) – a side effect where the patient rejects the therapy due to the many donor nature of off-the-shelf T Cell therapies.
“It is likely the early Phase 1/2 trials will be conducted at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston [and while] the long-term commercial manufacturing strategy for this product has not been decided, but Cell Medica’s future aim is to have a commercial cell factory for every key market - Europe, Americas, and Asia,” we were told.
Manufacturing would involve large scale cell culturing, the spokesperson continued, with commercial production likely to be moved to bioreactors which can be made to order to suit different production volumes.
“The starting material will be a blood sample or apheresis from healthy donors. NKT cells grow very well in culture which is an advantage when considering large scale production runs.”
Financial details were not divulged.