- SUDA Pharmaceuticals (SUD) licenses an invariant Natural Killer T (iNKT) cell therapy platform from Imperial College London
- When combined with chimeric antigen receptors (CARs), iNKT cells have been shown to outperform conventional CAR-T cell therapies for treating cancer
- iNKT cells are expected to be suitable for off-the-shelf-dosing which means one healthy donor can supply cells to treat many patients
- In addition to the licence agreement, SUDA expects to enter a collaborative research agreement with the London-based college to expand research
- SUDA is also undertaking a $3 million placement to support the development of the iNKT cell therapy
- SUDA entered a trading halt this morning, with shares last trading at 3.6 cents on Thursday, June 17
SUDA Pharmaceuticals (SUD) has signed a licence agreement with Imperial College London for an invariant Natural Killer T (iNKT) cell therapy platform.
The iNKT cell therapy platform was developed by Professor Anastasios Karadimitris and can be used in conjunction with chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) to treat blood cancer.
Significantly, Professor Karadimitris and his research team were the first to demonstrate the iNKT cells are protective against graft versus host disease (GVHD). GVHD is a condition that occurs when a donor's bone marrow or stem cells attack the recipient.
Being protected against GVHD means multiple cells can be isolated from one healthy donor and stored until they're needed for administration to many cancer patients.
iNKT cells can be further modified to arm them with a CAR and, when combined, they have two ways to recognise, attach to and destroy cancer cells. In fact, pre-clinical studies have shown CAR-iNKT cells are superior to conventional cell therapies to eradicate cancer cells and extend tumour-free survival.
"The iNKT cell therapy platform provides an opportunity to target several cancers using a product that we expect to have superior activity and to be more cost-effective, which should allow the therapy to reach more individuals.," SUDA CEO and Managing Director Dr Michael Baker said.
"SUDA will be the only ASX-listed CAR-iNKT cell therapy company that is working on this cellular platform and we look forward to progressing the technology into clinical trials," Dr Baker added.
Under the agreement with Imperial College London, SUDA will obtain an exclusive licence for the iNKT cell therapy platform.
The licensing payments include an upfront fee and annual maintenance fees. For the first oncology product developed, there are development milestones for initiating three phases of clinical trials and for receiving regulatory approval.
In addition, SUDA expects to enter into a collaborative research agreement with the London-based college. This will support further research to expand the platform and develop additional intellectual property.
Along with the licence, SUDA Pharmaceuticals plans to raise at least $3 million through an institutional placement to support the development of the iNKT cell therapy.
Further details on the placement are yet to be announced.
SUDA entered a trading halt this morning, with shares last trading at 3.6 cents on Thursday, June 17.