GlaxoSmithKline announced a five-year collaboration agreement with Lyell Immunopharma, a San Francisco, US-based company, working on methods to prevent inhibition of T cells by tumors and relapses due to loss of T cell functionality.
The agreement will see the two companies working on the advancement of GSK’s cell therapy pipeline, specifically on GSK3377794, a potential treatment for multiple cancer types currently in Phase II clinical development, which targets the NY-ESO-1 antigen.
According to GSK, although the first two chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapies, Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel) and Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel), have now reached the market, engineered T cells have not yet delivered strong clinical activity in common solid tumours.
Improving the ‘fitness’ of T cells and delaying the onset of T cell exhaustion could help engineered T cell therapies become more effective, the company stated.
Further than GSK’s cell therapy candidate, the research partnership will look to advance Lyell’s approach of enhancing initial T cell response against solid tumours into a platform technology for future cell and gene therapies development projects to treat rare types of cancer.
Lyell’s technology, according to Rick Klausner, the company’s CEO, looks to tackle three barriers to T cell efficacy in solid tumours.
“We are redefining the ways we prepare patient cells to be made into therapies, modulating cells’ functionality so that they maintain activity in the tumour microenvironment, and establishing methods of control to achieve specificity and safety for solid tumour-directed cell therapies,” Klausner explained.