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MaxCyte announces a strategic partnership with Johns Hopkins University to develop CAR T-Cell therapies for cancer.
MaxCyte announced on April 21, 2015 that it would partner with Johns Hopkins University to develop chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies for cancer. CAR T-cell therapies harness the patients’ immune cells and engineer them to attack cancer cells.
The company’s CAR T-cell therapy approach involves targeting solid tumor cancers by “enabling control over the on-target, off-tumor toxicity, which limits other CAR therapies to hematological cancers,” according to a press release. This process is achievable by “introducing the CAR construct as a transiently expressing messenger RNA, thus allowing control of the duration of expression and toxicity against target antigens in normal tissue.” The process reduces manufacturing time and expense from days or weeks to hours by eliminating the cell expansion step that is required for most CAR T-cell therapy processes.
“We are truly excited to be collaborating with Johns Hopkins, one of the leading hospitals in the world, in the development of this next-generation CAR therapy. The combination of Johns Hopkins’ world renowned research and clinical development capabilities and MaxCyte’s unique product development capabilities will enable the rapidly advancing area of CAR therapies to move into the clinic in solid tumors in a platform that provides rapid, cost-effective manufacture of Cellular Therapeutics,” said Doug Doerfler, president and CEO of MaxCyte, in a press release.
Investment into T-cell therapies has been growing at a quickening pace. In January 2015, both University College London and Kite Pharma announced separate plans to focus on T-cell therapies for cancer. In March 2015, Merck announced it would join the CAR T-cell market with the $941 million Intrexon alliance. In the same month, WuXi announced plans for a new facility to be built in the US designed for cell therapy products, namely CAR T-cell development and manufacturing.