Newswise — HOUSTON and CAMBRIDGE, Mass. ― The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Obsidian Therapeutics, Inc. today announced a multi-year strategic collaboration designed to expedite the research and development of novel engineered tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) for the treatment of solid tumors. The agreement pairs Obsidian and its novel cytoDRiVE™ technology platform with MD Anderson’s extensive experience and state-of-the-art capabilities in TIL cell therapy, led by the Biologics Development platform, within the Therapeutics Discovery division.
The collaboration is focused on developing TIL armored with regulated membrane-bound IL15 (referred to as cytoTIL™) with the potential to enhance anti-tumor efficacy and reduce tumor burden in patients suffering from different types of solid tumors. The teams will collaborate to accelerate the development of cytoTIL, including process and analytical development and clinical readiness activities.
“TIL therapy has emerged as a promising option for treating patients with solid tumors, though its widespread use today is limited by safety and efficacy challenges,” said Rodabe Amaria, M.D., associate professor of Melanoma Medical Oncology at MD Anderson. “We are pleased to work with Obsidian to advance their novel cytoTIL program, which has the potential to drive more durable treatment responses and expand TIL therapy to a broader group of our patients.”
The cytoTIL therapy is engineered using Obsidian's cytoDRiVE platform technology, which precisely and reversibly controls protein expression and activity using FDA-approved orally bioavailable drugs. By leveraging regulated membrane-bound IL15 to drive antigen-independent expansion of T cells and transactivation of NK cells, cytoTIL therapy is anticipated to improve patient response to TIL treatment and expand patient eligibility to those who currently cannot benefit from this transformative therapy.
“We are delighted to work with MD Anderson’s Biologics Development team to build upon the success of first generation TIL therapies and bring the first controllable TIL therapy to patients as rapidly as possible,” said Paul Wotton, Ph.D., CEO of Obsidian Therapeutics. “Through its cell therapy research platforms, deep clinical development experience, and industrial manufacturing capabilities, MD Anderson is a best-in-class collaborator to advance and accelerate cutting-edge cell therapies.”
MD Anderson’s Biologics Development platform is built around an experienced team focused on pioneering impactful biologic therapeutics, including antibodies and cell therapies. With a state-of-the-art 60,000 sq. foot GMP cell-therapy manufacturing facility, the platform joins MD Anderson expertise with the rigor of industrial development. Biologics Development offers a strong starting point for early-stage companies to access the breadth of MD Anderson capabilities in cell therapy development
MD Anderson is implementing an Institutional Conflict of Interest Management and Monitoring Plan for any research related to this relationship.
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About MD Anderson The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston ranks as one of the world's most respected centers focused on cancer patient care, research, education and prevention. The institution’s sole mission is to end cancer for patients and their families around the world. MD Anderson is one of only 51 comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). MD Anderson is ranked No.1 for cancer care in U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals” survey. It has ranked as one of the nation’s top two hospitals for cancer care since the survey began in 1990 and has ranked first 16 times in the last 19 years. MD Anderson receives a cancer center support grant from the NCI of the National Institutes of Health (P30 CA016672).
About Obsidian Therapeutics
Obsidian Therapeutics, Inc. is a biotechnology company pioneering controllable cell and gene therapies to deliver transformative outcomes for patients with intractable diseases. Obsidian’s proprietary cytoDRiVE™ platform provides, for the first time, a technology to develop a new generation of cell and gene therapies in which the level and timing of protein activity are fully controlled in a dose-dependent platform comprises a therapeutic protein of interest fused to a drug-responsive domain (DRD). In the absence of the small molecule drug, the DRD-tagged protein is degraded before it becomes active. In contrast, when the small molecule drug is present, the DRD-tagged protein is stabilized and active, permitting precise control of the timing and level of protein expression. The platform can be applied to design controllable intracellular, membrane and secreted proteins for cell and gene therapies as well as other applications. The Company is headquartered in Cambridge, Mass. For more information, please visit www.obsidiantx.com.