- Prescient Therapeutics (PTX) shares slip despite an update on some key developments for its CAR-T cancer therapy programs
- The oncology company develops and manufactures a range of binders against several cancer cells associate with leukemia, breast cancer, and brain tumours
- The next generation of CAR-T work focusses on making the therapy safer and broadening its application, particularly into solid tumours
- The CAR-T programs, based on PTX’s OmniCAR platform, are a type of cell therapy designed to make the treatment more controllable
- Prescient Therapeutics shares are down 4.44 per cent and trading at 22 cents each at 10:59 am AEST
Prescient Therapeutics (PTX) has slipped on the ASX today despite announcing some key developments for its CAR-T cancer therapy programs.
The oncology company said today it has manufactured and delivered “crucial components” of its OmniCAR platform for its in-house programs of the next generation of CAR-T therapies.
Specifically, Prescient has developed and manufactured a range of binders against several cancer cells, including CLL-1 and CD33, each expressed in types of leukemia cells; Her2, a gene that can play a role in the development of breast cancer; and EGFRviii, which is associated with brain tumours.
Prescient has incorporated SpyTag and SpyCatcher molecular binding system, which it is licenced to use from Oxford University, into each of the binders.
This next phase of CAR-T programs is focussed on making the therapy safer and broadening its application, particularly into solid tumours.
“Demonstrating that novel components can be manufactured is a crucial milestone in the development of an innovative next-generation CAR platform like OmniCAR,” Prescient CEO and Managing Director Steven Yatomi-Clarke said.
“Successfully producing binders for CLL-1; CD33; Her2 and EGFRviii will enable our research team to produce CAR-T cells for our three in-house programs.”
Prescient is taking on the CAR-T research program in partnership with the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne.
What does it all mean?
Essentially, Prescient’s CAR-T programs, based on the OmniCAR platform, are designed to be the next step in the world of cell therapy for cancer treatment.
Cell therapy works by modifying a cancer patient’s own cells to recognise and then kill cancer cells that would normally be hidden from the immune system. This type of treatment has been groundbreaking for certain types of cancers around the world.
However, an issue with cell therapy is that it can typically only direct cells to target and kill a single cancer antigen — meaning if the cancer mutates or expresses different types of antigens, cell therapy becomes less effective.
The OmniCAR platform is designed to mitigate this issue by administering cancer-killing CAR-T cells and “binders” to a patient separately.
The CAR-T cells, when administered, are inactive in the immune system until “armed” with a binder.
The cancer-killing agent has no effect on the body until a specific binder is administered — say, a CLL-1, CD33, Her2, or EGFRviii binder, as announced by PTX today. The binder then directs the CAR-T cells to target a specific cancer antigen.
With this method, cell therapy treatments can attack several types of cancers by simply switching out the arming binder.
As Prescient puts it, the CAR-T cell activity is now “controllable” and its target can be switched at will.
Despite the update on its CAR-T treatment development, shares in PTX slipped over 11 per cent in early action today.
The company has since recovered some of the lost ground, with shares down 4.44 per cent and trading at 22 cents each at 10:59 am AEST.