AdAlta and Carina in new collaboration focused on CAR-T candidates

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AdAlta (ASX:1AD) and Carina Biotech have announced a collaboration agreement to develop next-generation i-body enabled CAR-T cells.

AdAlta’s CEO, Dr Tim Oldham, said, “We believe that by combining our i-bodies with Carina's world-class CAR-T platform, we can make this important new therapeutic approach accessible to more patients and a greater range of cancers than is possible today. We are well past the starting line, having worked previously on the first two targets selected for our collaboration, and with Carina on one of these.”

Carina CEO Dr Deborah Rathjen added, “This collaboration with AdAlta gives us the capability to generate bi-specific CAR molecules and then next-generation CAR-T cell products with enhanced cancer targeting and efficacy – something we are very excited about. The collaboration is off to a great start with Carina having already successfully inserted an AdAlta i-body into a CAR-T cell with functional cancer-killing capability.”

Under the agreement, AdAlta will discover and optimise panels of i-bodies that bind to designated solid tumour antigen targets, from which Carina will generate bi-specific CAR-T cells and identify optimal CAR-T product candidates. Carina and AdAlta will jointly fund pre-clinical proof of concept studies in mouse tumour models.

The agreement contemplates work on up to five tumour antigen targets during the next two years and will continue until the completion of research on the final target.

The companies said the first two targets have been selected enabling research to commence within the next three months.

AdAlta and Carina said they will jointly own the products developed through the collaboration. On a product-by-product basis: the companies may elect to continue to co-develop any product; out-license any product to third parties; or either company may exercise an option to license the other party’s share of the collaboration assets.

Dr Oldham added, “A core part of AdAlta’s strategy is to enter collaborations with partners where we can further the use of our i-bodies to address disease targets previously thought undruggable. The i-body-directed CAR-T cells will be the second example of this, complementing our collaboration with GE Healthcare where i-bodies are being used to deliver a PET imaging agent. The Carina collaboration contributes multiple potential products to our pipeline expansion goals.”