Torque Initiates Phase 1 Clinical Trial of TRQ-1501 Deep IL-15 Primed T Cells in Patients with Advanced Solid Tumors or Lymphomas

CAMBRIDGE, MA, USA I February 20, 2019 I Torque, a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company developing first-in-class Deep Primed™ T Cell Therapeutics to direct immune power deep within the tumor microenvironment, announced today that the first patient has been treated in a Phase 1 clinical trial to evaluate the safety and tolerability of TRQ-1501 Deep IL-15 Primed T cells in patients with selected relapsed or refractory solid tumors and lymphomas. TRQ-1501 is the first Deep-Primed T cell product candidate to be investigated in clinical trials.

TRQ-1501 is an investigational immune cell therapy produced from a patient's own T cells, which are primed to target multiple tumor-associated antigens and loaded with Deep IL-15 (a multimer of IL-15 cytokine) anchored to the T cells' surface.

"We are grateful to the patients and clinical researchers contributing to Torque's first Deep-Primed T Cell clinical program," said Bart Henderson, Chief Executive Officer of Torque. "We developed Deep-Primed T cells to overcome the main challenges limiting cellular immunotherapy—the ability to target heterogenous tumors, overcome immunosuppression in the tumor microenvironment, and administration as outpatient therapy—and our hope is that this innovative treatment will shift the treatment paradigm, improving patient outcomes in multiple difficult-to-treat solid and hematologic cancers."

Torque's Phase 1 clinical trial of TRQ-1501 is a first-in-human, open-label, multi-center, dose-escalation study designed to determine the safety and tolerability of TRQ-1501 in patients with advanced relapsed or refractory solid tumors or lymphomas. The study includes a dose-escalation phase followed by an expansion phase. The dose-escalation phase is designed to determine the recommended Phase 2 dose of TRQ-1501; the identified dose will be evaluated in the expansion phase. Approximately 80 patients will be enrolled in the trial. Additional details about Torque's Phase 1 study may be found at www.clinicaltrials.gov (study identifier NCT03815682): "A Phase 1/1b Open-Label Multi-Center Study to Characterize the Safety and Tolerability of TRQ-1501 in Patients With Relapsed/Refractory Solid Tumors and Lymphomas."

About TRQ-1501
Torque is developing a new class of Deep-Primed™ cellular immunotherapy designed to overcome the key challenges limiting broad use of cellular therapy in oncology, including the capability to target tumors that express multiple heterogeneous antigens, the ability to overcome the immunosuppressive microenvironment that shuts down T cell function, and the need for outpatient treatment with a high margin of safety. Torque uses its Deep-Priming technology to develop multi-targeted, antigen-primed T cells that carry surface-anchored immune-stimulatory drugs to drive a full immune response within the tumor microenvironment against tumors with heterogenous antigens. TRQ-1501 is an investigational immune cell therapy produced from a patient's own T cells, which are primed to be active against multiple tumor-associated antigens and loaded with Deep IL-15 (a multimer of IL-15 cytokine) anchored to the T cells' surface.

About Torque's Deep-Primed™ Immune Cell Therapy Platform
Torque's Deep-Priming platform uses advanced cell process engineering to:

  • prime and activate T cells to target multiple tumor antigens and
  • tether immune-stimulatory drugs to the surface of these multi-target T cells to direct immune activation in the tumor microenvironment
  • using a proprietary technology platform, without genetic engineering, for a high margin of safety.

Deep-Primed T cells both target multiple tumor antigens and pharmacologically activate an immune response with anchored cytokines. This process does not require genetic engineering of the T cells and so preserves the natural T cell receptor for delivering a regulated immune response, with the potential for a high margin of safety. In addition to antigen priming, immunomodulators are tethered to the surface of Deep-Primed T cells—initially IL-15 and IL-12 cytokines, and TLR agonists—that activate both innate and adaptive immunity. Administering these immunomodulators systemically to a patient can cause lethal toxicity by activating immune cells throughout the body. By loading precise doses of cytokines onto the surface of T cells, Deep Priming focuses the immune response to target the tumor, without systemic exposure.

In hematologic cancers, this new class of immune cell therapeutics has the potential to improve on the initial success of single-target CAR T therapeutics with expanded efficacy and also move cell therapy treatment out of the hospital with a high margin of safety. For solid tumors, Deep-Primed T cells have the potential to enable efficacy against tumors with heterogeneous antigens protected by hostile microenvironments, which are not readily addressable with the first generation of immune cell therapies.

About Torque (www.torquetx.com)
Torque is a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company developing Deep Primed™ T cell therapeutics to direct immune power deep within the tumor microenvironment. Torque's lead product candidate—TRQ-1501 (Deep IL-15 primed T cells)—is in Phase 1/2 clinical trials for solid tumors and hematologic cancers. The company is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

SOURCE: Torque

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