NEW YORK, NY, USA I December 15, 2016 I Cellectis (Alternext: ALCLS; Nasdaq: CLLS), a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing immunotherapies based on gene edited CAR T-cells (UCART), today announced the National Institute of Health’s Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC)’s unanimous approval of two Phase 1 study protocols for Cellectis’ UCART123, the Company’s most advanced, wholly owned TALEN® gene edited product candidate in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm (BPDCN).

Cellectis will host a conference call in the next coming days. The details will be communicated shortly.

The RAC hearing was held on December 14, 2016 during a session dedicated to UCART projects and TALEN® based gene editing. This was the first time that allogeneic CAR T-cell programs gene edited with TALEN® technology were presented during a RAC hearing.

Cellectis expects to file an Investigational New Drug (IND) application with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by the end of 2016 and, pending FDA clearance, plans to initiate Phase 1 clinical trials in the first half of 2017. These programs will be the first therapeutic applications of a gene edited allogeneic “off-the-shelf” product candidate in the U.S.

UCART123 is a gene edited T-cell product candidate that targets CD123, an antigen that is located on CD123-expressing leukemic cells in AML, as well as in leukemic and other tumoral cells in BPDCN.

AML is a devastating clonal hematopoietic stem cell neoplasm that is characterized by uncontrolled proliferation and accumulation of leukemic blasts in bone marrow, peripheral blood and, occasionally, in other tissues. These cells disrupt normal hematopoiesis and rapidly cause bone marrow failure and death. In the U.S. alone, there are an estimated 19,950 new AML cases per year, with 10,430 estimated deaths per year.

The clinical research at Weill Cornell will be led by principal investigator Dr. Gail J. Roboz, Director of the Clinical and Translational Leukemia Programs and Professor of Medicine.

BPDCN is a very rare and aggressive hematological malignancy that is derived from plasmacytoid dendritic cell precursors. BPDCN is primarily a disease of bone marrow and blood cells but also often affects skin and lymph nodes.

The UCART123 clinical program at MD Anderson will be led by Professor Hagop Kantarjian, MD, Department Chair, Department of Leukemia, Division of Cancer Medicine and Professor Naveen Pemmaraju, MD, Assistant Professor.

Cellectis’ allogeneic CAR T-cell product line, Universal CARTs or UCARTs, yields frozen, off-the-shelf, engineered CAR T-cells. UCARTs are meant to be readily available CAR T-cells for a large patient population. Their production can be industrialized and standardized with defined pharmaceutical release criteria.

About RAC

The Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC) is a federal advisory committee that provides recommendations to the NIH Director related to basic and clinical research involving recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules. The NIH, through the RAC, reviews the most innovative clinical study protocols involving a gene therapy product.

About Cellectis

Cellectis is a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing immunotherapies based on gene edited CAR T-cells (UCART). The company’s mission is to develop a new generation of cancer therapies based on engineered T-cells. Cellectis capitalizes on its 16 years of expertise in genome engineering – based on its flagship TALEN® products and meganucleases and pioneering electroporation PulseAgile technology – to create a new generation of immunotherapies. CAR technologies are designed to target surface antigens expressed on cells. Using its life-science-focused, pioneering genome-engineering technologies, Cellectis’ goal is to create innovative products in multiple fields and with various target markets. Cellectis is listed on the Nasdaq market (ticker: CLLS) and on the NYSE Alternext market (ticker: ALCLS). To find out more about us, visit our website: 

SOURCE: Cellectis