- Prescient has secured two licenses from world immunotherapy leader, University of Pennsylvania and Oxford University to help create a next-generation cell therapy platform (OmniCAR).
- Dr Allen Ebens, an experienced and successful drug developer and former key executive in Juno Therapeutics, a CAR-T pioneer, has joined Prescient’s board. His experience in this field will be invaluable as PTX develops OmniCAR and targeted therapies.
- OmniCAR will facilitate in-house and external development of next-generation engineered cell therapies and build opportunities for business development for Prescient in the cell therapy field.
- OmniCAR will also provide opportunities for licensing, collaboration, and revenue potential through third party agreements.
Prescient Therapeutics Limited (ASX:PTX) is a clinical-stage oncology company developing personalised medicine approaches to cancer, including cellular as well as targeted therapies. The targeted therapies include two drug candidates, PTX-200 and PTX-100 and are under clinical investigation for several cancers. The cellular therapy programs of PTX include the new OmniCAR Platform,as well as various undisclosed cell therapy projects.
Recently, Prescient secured two licenses from world immunotherapy leader, University of Pennsylvania and Oxford University. Now, PTX is using these to create a revolutionary cancer therapy platform called “OmniCAR” to address the biggest problems in the most exciting area of oncology, called CAR-T.
TO KNOW MORE, DO READ: Impressive! Prescient Obtains Key Licenses for Next Generation Immunotherapy Platform
In this article, we will discuss how PTX is progressively moving towards its set goals in the most exhilarating area of oncology.
First let us acquaint you with CAR-T cell therapy
CAR-T cell therapy is a ground-breaking and innovative approach to treat cancer that utilises patient’s own immune system to target and attack cancer, wherein patients’ own T cells are separated, re-engineered to recognize and attack cancer and then introduced back to the body. CAR-T has had remarkable and unprecedented success in the treatment of several types of blood cancers and demonstrated nearly 80% response rates in some B cell lymphomas. The challenge is now to replicate the success of CAR-T in other cancers.
In November 2019, Prescient had collaborated with Carina Biotech for the development of exciting new CAR-T approaches for cancer treatment and PTX is now the 100% owner of any new IP rights generating from this collaboration.
CAR-T therapies approved and in use- CAR-T therapies have drawn global medical and investors interest since 2017.
One more company that is operating in similar CAR-T medicine space is Juno Therapeutics which was acquired by Celgene in a US$9 billion deal in January 2018. And Bristol-Myers Squibb completed a US$74 billion acquisition of Celgene in November 2019.
It is worth noticing here that recently Prescient onboarded former Juno executive Dr Allen Ebens having a vast experience of over 24 years in drug development.
Despite its groundbreaking success, CAR-T faces several substantial challenges, including-
- Time and cost of delivering treatment.
- CAR-T can have serious safety troubles.
- Clinicians do not have any control of the cell once administered to the patient.
- Finding targets that work in case of antigen heterogeneity (multiple targets) especially in solid tumours.
Overcoming these challenges is expected to benefit the entire CAR-T field, and help bring this exciting new therapy to many more cancer patients.
How OmniCAR Works to Overcome CAR-T Challenges?
OmniCAR is Pre-clinical universal, modularised CAR-T platform and potentially best-in class universal immune receptor (UIR) platform.
OmniCAR platform uses the distinctive SpyTag/SpyCatcher covalent binding system that is related to molecular Velcro which has also been licensed by Prescient from Oxford University for employing in the OmniCAR system. This platform pursues to splash through several inadequacies that are with existing cell therapies.
OmniCAR is designed to overcome several important challenges facing current-generation CAR-T:
- On-demand activation of CAR-T cell and controlling CAR-T cell activity once they are administered to the patient.
- With OmniCAR serious side effects can be controlled as it has the ability to terminate activity in case of a serious adverse event.
- Prevention of B-cell aplasia (CD19) and recallable memory response.
- Solid tumour targeting, off-target tissue activity is a major limitation in CAR-T. However, titration could be done in OmniCAR to achieve therapeutic index.
- Addressing tumour antigen loss and treatment of heterogeneous tumours which is not possible with CAR-T.
- Cost of therapy is high in CAR-T, but OmniCAR is a single vector design that helps to reduce cost and can be incorporated into off-the-shelf T-cells.
OmniCAR is being designed to give clinicians better control of CAR-T. Conventional CAR-T cells cannot be switched off, which is a significant problem if any sign of toxicity arises. OmniCAR activity can be switched off if clinicians want to, by ceasing binder administration or by administering a blocking agent. Notably, with OmniCAR platform, clinicians can safely reactivate CAR-T cell activity by recommencing binder administration.
Worth noting that OmniCAR platform would permit remarkable control and flexibility on conventional CAR-T methods.
Ability to Control Dose & Activity- With conventional CAR-T a significant problem is that CAR-T cells cannot be switched off when toxicity arises, however, in OmniCAR platform activity can be switched off at the choice of the clinician by ceasing binder administration or administering a blocking agent. Moreover, clinicians can safely reactivate CAR-T cell activity by resuming administration of binder.
What more can OmniCAR do?
- OmniCAR is potentially applicable to all the type of cancers including haematological cancers, Solid cancers (a new frontier for CAR-T).
- Additionally, OmniCAR can be used for diagnostics purposes, for imaging of target tumour and autoimmunity.
- OmniCAR can improve many cell therapy approaches including autologous T-cells, allogeneic T-cells (off the shelf cells) and producing enhanced versions of CARs with other cell types such as NK cells, Macrophage, T-reg cells and stem cells.
Prescient is making progress swiftly in the immunotherapy platform by developing medicines for cancers having unmet or poorly met clinical needs. With two important licenses already secured for next-generation immunotherapy platform (OmniCAR) and addition of Dr Allen Ebens with vast CAR-T experience in Prescient board, the company is well positioned to boost its future prospects.
On 19 June 2020, PTX quoted at A$0.057 with a market cap of A$22.47 million.
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