May 11, 2015
Formula Pharmaceuticals Acquires Next-Generation, Allogeneic, Non-Viral Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) Immunotherapy Platform; Completes Private Fundraising
Berwyn, PA – May 11, 2015 – Formula Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced the acquisition of worldwide exclusive rights to an allogeneic, non-viral chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) technology platform which leverages Cytokine-Induced Killer (C.I.K.) cells as immune effector cells. This immunotherapy platform was developed over the past seven years at the Research Center Fondazione M. Tettamanti, a University of Milano-Bicocca affiliate. The exclusive license coincides with the completion of a private investment transaction, facilitated by placement agent, Banca Esperia S.p.A., and with financial advice from IMS Health Capital.
“Formula’s C.I.K. CAR represents a proprietary, next-generation technology platform that is significantly differentiated from existing CAR-T approaches, and could offer solutions to limitations associated with the use of the current platform of autologous T cells,” said President and CEO, Maurits W. Geerlings. “In addition, Formula’s technology platform leverages non-viral transfection, which could make scale-up manufacturing significantly more practical and cost-effective as compared to viral transfection methods. We look forward to advancing the field of CAR immunotherapy with this important novel advanced therapy approach.”
“C.I.K. cells have T cell characteristics and natural killer (NK) cell properties that, within the context of CAR immunotherapy, may show efficacy and safety advantages over T cells,” said Prof. Andrea Biondi, Chief of Pediatrics and Hemato-Oncology at the University of Milano-Bicocca, Fondazione MBBM/San Gerardo Hospital in Monza and Scientific Director of Fondazione M Tettamanti, Italy. “The clinical feasibility of allogeneic C.I.K. cells in adoptive cell therapy trials has been established by independent study groups across the world. Overcoming the practical limitation of allogeneic T cell-induced Graft versus Host Disease (GvHD) is key to providing access to CAR immunotherapy to all eligible patients. For many patients, autologous blood used in existing experimental therapies could lead to a suboptimal CAR immunotherapy product, due to precedent chemotherapy, bone marrow transplantation or co-morbidities. The preparation of C.I.K. CAR doesn’t require apheresis, and can be prepared with small amounts of peripheral blood samples.”
Based on positive pre-clinical data at the Fondazione “M.Tettamanti”, GMP manufacturing activities are underway for Formula’s lead C.I.K. CAR immunotherapy program, which is targeted to enter clinical trials in 2016. Formula plans to develop proprietary and licensed targets in hematologic oncology and solid tumor indications on its own and in partnership with others.
“We have carefully assessed how we wanted to enter into the CAR immunotherapy field, considering the rapid pace of development,” Dr. Geerlings said. “Patients and physicians want to maximize the likelihood of clinical benefit from CAR immunotherapy. Working with C.I.K. cells, allogeneic blood provided by healthy donors, and non-viral transfection, we hope to provide a better alternative to patients.”
About Formula Pharmaceuticals
Formula Pharmaceuticals is a privately held, immuno-oncology focused company located in Berwyn, Pennsylvania. Initially focused on the development of a cancer vaccine, Formula transitioned in late 2014 to concentrate on CAR immunotherapy. Formula’s technology platform offers important opportunities for improvements to existing CAR approaches, with the objective to significantly increase patient access, clinical benefit potential, and cost-effectiveness of manufacturing. Formula plans to develop proprietary and licensed targets in hematologic oncology and solid tumor indications on its own and in partnership with others. For more information visit www.formulapharma.com.
|Copyright 2015 Formula
Page Updated: 10/23/2015 11:21:18 AM