Arovella licences novel CARiNKT cell armouring technology

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Arovella Therapeutics (ASX:ALA) has signed a global, exclusive license agreement with the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center (UNC Lineberger).

Arovella said the agreement will incorporate UNC Lineberger's novel IL-12-TM (cytokine technology) into its CARiNKT cell therapy platform.

The technology was developed by Professor Gianpietro Dotti, a pioneer of CARiNKT cells, and was recently published in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal Nature Communications.

Arovella CEO and managing director Dr Michael Baker said, “We are incredibly excited to license the IL-12-TM technology from Professor Dotti’s laboratory for use with our CAR-iNKT cell platform. The data supporting solid tumours is compelling and will see Arovella enhance its solid tumour pipelines and effectiveness.”

Professor Dotti, a research professor at UNC and director of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center Immunotherapy Program, said, “We have continued to make important advancements to use CARiNKT cells to treat various tumour types. What we have discovered by engineering CAR-iNKT cells to generate IL-12-TM is unexpected. We look forward to working with Arovella to test this exciting technology in clinical trials.”

Arovella said the licence has no immediate material financial impact as a result of signing the agreement. There is no upfront fee payable for the license, and future licensing fees will include annual license maintenance fees, stage-gated, industry-standard development milestones for the first patient dosed in a pivotal clinical trial and marketing approval. The Licence also includes a low single-digit royalty on future sales.

"The data demonstrates that IL-12-TM enhances CAR-iNKT cell persistence, cell number and antitumour activity in several animal cancer models, including solid tumour cancers such as neuroblastoma," said Arovella in a statement.