Imugene announces new collaboration with Eureka Therapeutics

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Imugene (ASX:IMU) has announced a new collaboration under which it will evaluate its CD19 oncolytic virus onCARlytics technology in combination with Eureka Therapeutics' anti-CD19 ARTEMIS T-cell therapy for the treatment of solid tumours.

Imugene said that in preclinical studies conducted by the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, scientists combined CAR-T therapy with an oncolytic virus to eliminate solid tumours in mice.

The virus enters the tumour cells and forces them to express the CD19 protein on the cell surface, presenting a target for anti-CD19 T-cells to pursue and kill. Imugene licensed the patents covering City of Hope’s oncolytic virus technology in May 2021.

“T-cell and CAR-T therapies have not achieved much success in solid tumours in part because of a lack of tumour-specific targets. By using our proprietary oncolytic technology to force the tumour to express the CD19 target, we now have the ability to address this shortcoming. We believe the synergy between our onCARlytics platform and Eureka’s anti-CD19 ARTEMIS T-cells has the potential to shift the cellular medicine paradigm in treating solid tumours,” said Leslie Chong, managing director and CEO of Imugene.

“We are delighted to be working with Imugene on tackling solid tumours using this innovative approach,” said Dr Cheng Liu, president and CEO of Eureka Therapeutics.

“We believe our ARTEMIS T-cell platform to be the ideal one to evaluate this combination. In head-to-head pre-clinical studies against CAR-T cells, our ARTEMIS T-cells demonstrated superior efficacy, enhanced tumour infiltration, and less T-cell exhaustion. In the clinical context, our ARTEMIS T-cells have demonstrated reduced cytokine release syndrome (CRS) and other cytokine-related toxicities compared to CAR-T cells, potentially improving the efficacy and safety of a combination approach.”