TCB’s in-house Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) team will be working with Derek Doherty, an associate professor and head of immunology at Trinity College, and his team to leverage their experience and knowledge of the biology of these immune cells and improve their expansion in the lab.
“This collaboration with TC BioPharm gives us an opportunity to translate our basic research on V delta 1 γδ T cells into immunotherapies for cancer and infectious disease,” Doherty said in a press release.
The team will first focus on the development of strategies to identify and expand V delta 1 cells that target Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-related solid cancers.
TCB anticipates that these novel GMP-compliant V delta 1 cells, combined with the company’s proprietary allogeneic CAR-T platform, will represent the next generation of therapies for the treatment of a broad range of cancers.
Initial clinical studies to assess the safety and efficacy of this cell-based immunotherapy are expected to be launched in late 2019.
“It’s a pleasure to be working alongside Dr. Doherty in Dublin — Derek and his team have provided us with an enormous opportunity to fast-track our V delta 1 research into GMP manufacture and subsequent treatment of cancer patients,” said Angela Scott, chief operating officer of TCB.
Gamma delta (γδ) T cells are a subset of naturally existing immune cells with the ability to distinguish between diseased and healthy cells.
TCB has developed a new gamma-delta CAR-T platform, called Co-stim CAR-T, which combines the potential of gamma delta T cells with the anti-cancer potential of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells. This strategy will enable the engineered cells to better target and eliminate specific cancer types.
Because gamma delta T cells are completely safe for healthy cells, Co-stim CAR-T will not affect healthy cells producing the target protein, eliminating off-tumor toxicity. Also, these cells activate multiple immune system pathways, being more effective than current CAR T-cell approaches.
“At TCB, we believe in the vast potential for V delta 1 T cells to significantly improve cancer patient health and quality of life,” said Michael Leek, PhD, chief executive officer of TCB. “This collaboration builds upon our strategy to maintain position as the leader in clinical development of therapeutic gamma delta T cells.”