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Cell & Gene Therapy Insights

Cell & Gene Therapy Insights

Allogene partners with Notch to create stem cell-based allogeneic cell therapies

Allogeneic CAR-T therapy developer Allogene Therapeutics has entered into a licence agreement with Notch Therapeutics to develop induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-based allogeneic cell therapies. In addition to the agreement, Allogene has acquired a 25 percent equity position in Notch.

Allogene Therapeutics, founded by former Kite Pharma executives, is taking another major initiative in the CAR-T space by entering into a collaboration with Notch to develop iPSC-based allogeneic CAR (AlloCAR) therapies.

The initial focus of the collaboration would be to develop iPSC-based AlloCAR therapy products for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, leukemia and multiple myeloma. Under the partnership, Allogene and Notch will create allogeneic cell therapy candidates from T cells or natural killer cells using Notch’s Engineered Thymic Niche (ETN) platform.

Launched in 2018 by iPSC pioneers Juan Carlos Zúñiga-Pflücker and Peter Zandstra, Notch Therapeutics is developing advanced approaches to differentiate mature immune cells from iPSCs. The Notch ETN technology platform offers potential flexibility and scalability to produce stem cell-derived immune cell therapies. iPSCs could prove to be a better starting material for AlloCAR T therapies because they are renewable and could have improved efficiency of gene editing, greater scalability of supply, product homogeneity and more streamlined manufacturing.

Under the terms of the agreement, Allogene will make an upfront payment of $10 million to Notch. Notch will be responsible for the preclinical research of next-generation iPSC AlloCAR T cells. Allogene will clinically develop the product candidates and will have the exclusive worldwide rights to commercialize the resulting products.

Notch is also eligible to receive up to $7.25 million upon achieving certain agreed research milestones, up to $4.0 million per exclusive target upon achieving certain pre-clinical development milestones, and up to $283 million per exclusive target and cell type upon achieving certain clinical, regulatory and commercial milestones.

The companies are hopeful that the iPSC-based AlloCAR therapies, if successful in cancers, could be extended to treat other immunity-related diseases such as infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases and aging.

Dr David Chang, President, CEO and Co-Founder of Allogene Therapeutics commented: “This collaboration exemplifies Allogene’s long-term commitment to advancing the field of cancer treatment as we continue to expand and progress our innovative pipeline of off-the-shelf AlloCAR candidates. Though treatments made from iPSCs may take longer to get into the clinic than Allogene’s current pipeline—which is based on donor T cells—they will be the “next chapter” in cell therapy.”

Source: Allogene taps Notch Therapeutics for cell therapy’s next chapter: stem cell-based cancer meds; Website

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