Imugene (ASX:IMU) - CEO, Leslie Chong
CEO, Leslie Chong
Source: Imugene
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  • Imugene (IMU) partners with Celularity to develop a novel combination treatment for solid tumours
  • The partnership will combine IMU’s oncolytic virus technology with Celularity’s CyCART-19 therapy
  • The strategy uses an oncolytic virus to prime tumour cells for destruction by causing the expression of a tumor marker that can be used as a target for CAR T therapy
  • IMU director and CEO Leslie Chong says the synergy between the companies’ developments has the potential to shift the cellular medicine paradigm
  • Shares closed at 29.5 cents on August 4

Clinical-stage immuno-oncology company Imugene (IMU) has partnered with Celularity, a clinical-stage biotechnology developer, to collaborate on a novel treatment for solid tumours.

The pairing will see IMU’s CD19 oncolytic virus technology combined with Celularity’s CD19-targeting allogenic chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cellular therapy (CyCART-19).

CyCART-19 is a placental-derived T-cell investigational therapy engineered with a CAR that is cryopreserved and will be available off the shelf.

Imugene exclusively licensed its oncolytic virus technology from Los Angeles-based cancer research centre City of Hope.

The company’s novel strategy to treat solid tumours uses an oncolytic virus to prime the tumour cells for destruction by eliciting the expression of a validated tumor marker, CD19, that can then be used as a target for CAR T therapy.

IMU’s managing director and CEO Leslie Chong said the company believed the synergy between Celularity’s placental-derived cells and IMU’s platform had the potential to shift the cellular medicine paradigm.

“In preclinical studies, Celularity’s cellular therapies have shown the ability to overcome limitations that have hindered other approaches, including increased proliferation and persistence in vivo, resistance to T-cell exhaustion and low immunogenicity, which allows for repeated dosing,” Ms Chong said.

“These unique characteristics perfectly align with our vision for a combination treatment strategy and we look forward to closely working together to bring this treatment strategy to the clinic and patients in need.”

Celularity’s founder, chairperson and CEO Robert J. Hariri said the research collaboration could lay the foundation for a new approach to treating solid tumours.

“This treatment strategy with Imugene has the potential to apply a new range of indications by enabling CD19-targeted cellular medicine to expand from its current effective usage in CD19-positive lymphomas and leukaemia and potentially become applicable to a variety of solid tumours through inducing uniform expression of CD19 in solid tumours,” Dr Hariri said.

Shares closed at 29.5 cents on August 4, 2021.

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