Carina Biotech licenses German technology for CAR-T

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Cell therapy immuno-oncology company Carina Biotech has announced a new worldwide, exclusive license agreement with Bayerische Patentallianz (BayPAT) for the CXCR6-transduced CAR-T cell technology.

The technology was developed at the University Hospital of Ludwig-Maximillian University of Munich (LMU).

Carina said access to the patents covering the CXCR6 technology expands and complements its proprietary multi-functional Chemokine Receptor Platform, enabling and enhancing CAR-T cell homing to certain solid tumour types, resulting in greater CAR-T activity.

Solid cancers secrete small proteins called chemokines. Each cancer has a specific chemokine secretion ‘profile’ that forms a chemokine concentration gradient around solid cancers.

Certain cancers – such as colorectal, prostate, breast and lung cancers – upregulate a chemokine called CXCL16, which binds to the chemokine receptor CXCR6.

Under the agreement, Carina will develop CAR-T cells that express CXCR6, enabling its CAR-T cells to migrate along the CXCL16 chemokine gradient to certain cancers, enter the tumours more rapidly and then efficiently kill the cancer cells.

CEO Dr Deborah Rathjen said, “Carina has a world-leading, proprietary platform for the generation of human CAR-T cells to treat cancer. Our precision approach is based on over 30 years of research on T cells and immunity and chemokine and chemokine receptor biology. CAR-T therapy is now an accepted immunotherapy approach for blood cancers.

"The challenge, which we believe our Multi-functional Chemokine Receptor Platform overcomes, is to provide rapid access to solid cancers. We are delighted to have licensed this patent family from BayPAT and the LMU because the CXCR6 technology expands, in a complementary way, the chemokine receptor technology we can access to create next generation cell therapies to treat cancer.”

“Carina is making rapid progress towards becoming a clinical stage company with our LGR5 directed CAR-T for the treatment of metastatic colorectal (bowel) cancer tracking well, with an anticipated IND filing and the start of a clinical trial next year. This CAR-T has delivered impressive preclinical results and we are excited by its prospects for treating a range of solid cancer types in addition to colorectal cancer,” Dr Rathjen added.

“We are very happy that this highly innovative CXCR6 chemokine receptor technology will be further developed by experts in the area of CAR-T therapies to ensure that the full potential of that technology will be exploited to benefit patients to fight their cancer,” said Dr Robert Phelps, BayPAT’s CEO.

Professor Sebastian Kobold MD, lead inventor of the CXCR6 technology at LMU University Hospital, added “CXCR6 is a receptor with unique properties and biology that can confer to therapeutic T cells decisive advantages to enter solid tumour tissue. We have demonstrated the potential utility in combination with CAR-T cells as well as its biological function in cancer in two seminal publications in Nature Biomedical Engineering and Cell this year. We are excited to have Carina Biotech now a dedicated partner, who will translate this technology into clinical trials.”