WALTHAM, MA, USA I January 09, 2023 I Minerva Biotechnologies, a private company developing 1st-in-human therapies for the treatment of solid tumor cancers, announced today that the FDA has approved their IND (Investigational New Drug) application to conduct clinical trials with huMNC2-CAR22, aka MUC1*-CAR-1XX, for the treatment of metastatic breast cancers. huMNC2-CAR22 targets MUC1* (muk 1 star), the growth factor receptor that drives the growth and metastasis of most solid tumor cancers.

Minerva’s first CAR T that targets MUC1*, huMNC2-CAR44, is already in a clinical trial for metastatic breast cancers. Initial results show CAR T cell expansion, patients going from Progressive Disease to Stable Disease and Partial Response. However, for a durable response, we needed to overcome CAR T cell exhaustion, which is common to CAR T cell treatment of solid tumor cancers. This second MUC1* CAR T, huMNC2-CAR22, bears the “1XX” mutations in the T cell’s CD3-z signaling domain. These four Tyrosine to Phenylalanine mutations block tyrosine phosphorylation in two of the three signaling domains of CD3-z, which slow signaling and dramatically increase persistence. Unexpectedly, the 1XX mutations give the CAR T cells the added benefit of being able to recognize and kill the low antigen expressing cancer cells that lead to cancer recurrence.

“These 1XX mutations solve the two hurdles that have thus far stood in the way of an effective CAR T treatment for solid tumor cancers: 1) CAR T cell exhaustion; and 2) failure to kill the low antigen expressing cells,” said Minerva’s CEO Dr. Cynthia Bamdad, “Together with our MUC1* antibodies that recognize an epitope only available on cancer cells, huMNC2-CAR22 promises to be a big leap ahead in our fight against cancers.”

We thank our scientists, collaborators, and the patients and their families for their courage.

Minerva holds a license from Memorial Sloan Kettering for use of the 1XX technology.

About the trial

NCT04020575 is a first-in-human trial of huMNC2-CAR22 and huMNC2-CAR44, autologous CAR T cells targeting MUC1* in metastatic breast cancer in patients with MUC1* positive tumors.

SOURCE: Minerva Therapeutics