Juno Therapeutics Signs Licensing Agreements with Lilly, OncoTracker, and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to Advance Its BCMA-Directed Engineered T Cell Program in Multiple Myeloma with Gamma Secretase Inhibition
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- Published on Wednesday, 06 December 2017 16:52
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SEATTLE, WA, USA I December 6, 2017 I Juno Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: JUNO), a biopharmaceutical company developing innovative cellular immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer, today announced three license agreements to advance its program in multiple myeloma using gamma secretase inhibitors (GSIs) in combination with BCMA-directed CAR T cells.
Gamma secretase is an enzyme that cleaves a set of transmembrane proteins, including BCMA. Multiple publications have shown that treatment with GSIs can increase surface expression of BCMA on tumors, particularly multiple myeloma. Increased cell surface BCMA may increase potency of a BCMA-directed CAR T therapy1.
“BCMA appears to be an important target for treating patients with multiple myeloma and Juno is dedicated to investigating novel approaches to maximize efficacy for these patients. These licenses open up an important approach to improve the activity and outcomes for CAR T cells targeted at BCMA,” said Sunil Agarwal, M.D., Juno’s President of Research and Development. “We plan to begin clinical trials in 2018 combining a gamma secretase inhibitor with our BCMA CAR T product candidates.”
Through its agreement with Eli Lilly and Company, Juno will acquire a license to the GSI known as LY3039478, a product candidate that has been studied in 411 patients and healthy volunteers. Through its agreements with OncoTracker and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Juno will gain exclusive rights to intellectual property within the field of combinations of GSIs and BCMA-directed engineered T cells.
No other terms from these three transactions were disclosed.
1Pont M. “Gamma secretase inhibition increases recognition of multiple myeloma by BCMA-specific chimeric antigen receptor modified T cells.” Presented at Annual Meeting of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC). November 8-12, 2017. National Harbor, MD.
Juno Therapeutics is building a fully integrated biopharmaceutical company focused on developing innovative cellular immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer. Founded on the vision that the use of human cells as therapeutic entities will drive one of the next important phases in medicine, Juno is developing cell-based cancer immunotherapies based on chimeric antigen receptor and high-affinity T cell receptor technologies to genetically engineer T cells to recognize and kill cancer. Juno is developing multiple cell-based product candidates to treat a variety of B-cell malignancies as well as multiple solid tumors and multiple myeloma. Several product candidates have shown compelling clinical responses in clinical trials in refractory leukemia and lymphoma conducted to date. Juno’s long-term aim is to leverage its cell-based platform to develop new product candidates that address a broader range of cancers and human diseases. Juno brings together innovative technologies from some of the world’s leading research institutions, including the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Seattle Children’s Research Institute (SCRI), the University of California, San Francisco, and The National Cancer Institute. Juno Therapeutics has an exclusive license to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital patented technology for CD19-directed product candidates that use 4-1BB, which was developed by Dario Campana, Chihaya Imai, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Juno’s product candidate JCAR017 was developed in collaboration with SCRI and others.
About Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, home to three Nobel laureates, interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists seek new and innovative ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases. Fred Hutch’s pioneering work in bone marrow transplantation led to the development of immunotherapy, which harnesses the power of the immune system to treat cancer. An independent, nonprofit research institute based in Seattle, Fred Hutch houses the nation’s first and largest cancer prevention research program, as well as the clinical coordinating center of the Women’s Health Initiative and the international headquarters of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network. For more information visit www.fredhutch.org or follow Fred Hutch on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.
OncoTracker, Inc. (“OncoTracker”) is a Los Angeles-based medical diagnostics company, with exclusive rights to the recent and patented discovery of a novel blood biomarker that monitors the tumor burden of patients with multiple myeloma, CLL, B cell lymphoma and potentially other cancers. In addition, OncoTracker has a broad array of technology, intellectual property and products related to therapeutics, monitoring clinical trials, predicting success of various therapies and real-time monitoring effectiveness of therapies including multiple myeloma, other liquid and solid tumors.
SOURCE: Juno Tracker