Bluebird bio and TC BioPharm recently announced a new partnership to develop gamma delta CAR T-cell product candidates for the treatment of cancer. The collaboration and licensing agreement were established to advance TC BioPharm’s CAR-engineered gamma delta T-cell program into clinical trials.
“Emerging research suggests that gamma delta T cells may constitute a powerful platform for CAR T cell therapies,” Philip Gregory, PhD, chief scientific officer at bluebird, said in a press release. “TCB is a leader in the gamma delta T cell field, with extensive capabilities spanning early research, clinical development and manufacturing. The combination with our deep expertise in CAR T cell biology, translational and clinical experience with leading CAR T cell drug products, and powerful gene therapy toolbox, offers a high degree of synergy.”
TC BioPharm has developed a new gamma-delta CAR T platform called ImmuniCAR, in which a patient’s own gamma delta T-cells are genetically modified to express a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) that enables them to better target and eliminate specific cancer types.
Gamma delta T-cells are a subset of T-cells that have an inherent ability to distinguish between diseased and healthy cells. Gamma delta CAR T-cells, therefore, may be safer than other CAR T-cell approaches because they do not damage healthy tissue. Also, the company’s CAR T products have the potential to target both solid and liquid tumors, such as those present in blood cancers.
“We are delighted to be working alongside bluebird bio to discover and develop next-generation CAR T cell therapies based on our innovative ImmuniCAR platform,” said Michael Leek, PhD, chief executive and founder of TC BioPharm.
“The collaboration with bluebird bio, a leader in cell and gene therapy, recognizes the enormous potential of ImmuniCAR to deliver life-changing medicines,” added Artin Moussavi, PhD, chief business officer at TC BioPharm.
The agreement combines TC BioPharm’s gamma delta T-cell capabilities with bluebird’s expertise in all stages of CAR T and gene therapy product development to discover and develop next-generation liquid and solid tumor product candidates.
According to the agreement, TC BioPharm will oversee clinical development through Phase 1/2, after which bluebird has the option of assuming full responsibility for further clinical development and global commercialization. TC BioPharm received $16 million as an upfront payment from bluebird bio and is still eligible to receive additional royalties on product sales.