Cartherics enters new collaborative research agreement with TiCARos

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Australian cell therapy company Cartherics has entered a collaborative research agreement with TiCARos.

Under the agreement, TiCARos' proprietary CLIP-CAR technology will be assessed in Cartherics' induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived natural killer (NK) cells.

TiCARos is developing novel chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell products for treating solid and blood cancers incorporating its CLIP-CAR (Clamping-based Immunological Synapse Potentiating CAR) approach.

The CLIP component stabilises the immune synapse between immune cells and target tumour cells by modifying the CAR structure. This improves the contact between CAR-T cells and tumour cells, resulting in enhanced efficacy in vitro and in vivo models. CLIP-CARs have not yet been assessed in NK cells.

Cartherics said each party has nominated a tumour antigen it wishes to target in assessing the CARs.

Cartherics’ target is tissue factor (TF), for which it recently entered into an option agreement with Ohio State University. TiCARos will be assessing CD19 as its tumour target. Each party retains the right to develop products that target its nominated tumour antigen.

“We are excited to extend the application of our CLIP CAR-T platform technology into CAR-NK therapeutic approach by collaborating with Cartherics, as their expertise lies in the field of allogeneic cell platform based upon iPSC-derived NK cell therapy,” said JW Lee, CEO of TiCARos. “We see a remarkable opportunity to leverage our core capabilities, accelerate pipeline programs, and expand opportunities beyond autologous cell therapies,” and added, “This collaboration creates a path for accelerating our respective solid tumour pipeline programs and broadening the use of TiCARos’ technology outside of autologous cell therapy applications.”

Subject to the results from the research collaboration, the parties will negotiate a development and commercialisation agreement in relation to their respective background technologies and any jointly-owned intellectual property generated in the project.

Cartherics’ CEO, Professor Alan Trounson AO, said, “Bringing new cutting-edge technologies such as CLIP-CAR together with Cartherics’ allogeneic NK cell platform is an exciting development that may make these therapies even more effective. We continue to work collaboratively with innovative companies and academics internationally to build a leading portfolio of therapeutic products in cancer. An effective CLIP-CAR targeting tissue factor could provide the basis of a CAR-NK product for triple negative breast cancer and other difficult to treat cancers."