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AdAlta and Carina Biotech to Develop Next-Generation CAR-T Cancer Therapeutics

Combining Carina’s advanced CAR-T platform technologies with AdAlta’s i-body targeting capability, the collaboration aims to create unique, next-generation bi-specific CAR-T cells.

AdAlta Limited and Carina Biotech Pty Ltd have entered a collaboration agreement to develop next-generation i-body enabled CAR-T cells with the potential to bring CAR-T cell therapy to treat a far greater range of cancers than the small number of blood cancers that has been achieved today.

CAR-T cell therapy is a fast-emerging form of cancer therapy that modifies a patient’s immune system to recognise and attack cancer cells that have resisted standard treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.

i-bodies, on the other hand, are an example of a “next-generation antibody”. These next-generation antibodies are smaller proteins engineered to replicate key functions of full-sized antibodies and are predicted to have a major impact on human health, particularly in oncology, autoimmunity and chronic inflammatory diseases.

The small size and unique targeting of i-bodies provide greater flexibility and design options for CAR-T cells and are ideally suited for the production of bi-specific CARs with increased precision and efficacy. i-bodies can be utilised as the binding domain of a CAR receptor that engages the tumour antigen. i-bodies are approximately half the size of traditional binding domains and are capable of accessing and engaging antigens in unique ways.

AdAlta’s CEO, Dr. Tim Oldham commented, “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’s CEO, Dr. Deborah Rathjen commented, “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 Collaboration 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 Collaboration Agreement contemplates commencing 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 first two targets have been selected enabling research to commence within the next three months. AdAlta’s initial contribution will leverage its established laboratory resources and is not anticipated to have a material impact on the current cash runway.

AdAlta and Carina 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. Tim Oldham continued, “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.” [APBN]

Source: AdAlta Limited