5 cell therapy companies you should know about
Cell therapy has come a long way in recent years, with many biotechnology companies now specializing in developing cell therapies to treat a variety of ailments. In this article we take a look at five such companies.
Cell therapy refers to transplanting human cells to replace or repair damaged ones to treat certain diseases. Several different cells can be used in cell therapy, including hematopoietic stem cells, skeletal muscle stem cells, neural stem cells, lymphocytes, etc.
Advances in cell therapy over the last few years have especially benefited the field of oncology, where, for example, CAR-T cell therapy has become a game changer in the treatment of blood cancer, and is now being explored for the treatment of blood cancer. solid tumors too.
Listed here, in alphabetical order, are the top five companies working on the development of cell therapies for cancer and other disease areas.
Adaptimmune is based in Oxford, in England, and is focused on changing the lives of people with cancer by leveraging the patient’s own T cells to target and destroy cancer cells. To do this, the company has a proprietary T-cell receptor (TCR) platform that allows it to identify cancer targets and discover and genetically engineer TCRs to recognize and attack the intended target.
The company’s developed TCR T-cell therapy is called SPEAR T-cells, which can recognize peptide fragments of both proteins present inside cells and expressed outside cells. This allows a large number of proteins to be targeted.
Adaptimmune’s clinical pathway includes candidates under investigation for the treatment of synovial sarcoma, head and neck cancer, esophageal cancer, ovarian cancer, and more. Afamitresgene autocel is the company’s first-generation TCR T-cell therapy targeting MAGE-A4 – an antigen expressed in several types of solid tumors, plus the company is also developing a next-generation cell therapy, with its first clinical candidate being ADP-A2M4CD8, which is also directed at MAGE-A4 .
It was recently announced that Adaptimmune and TCR2 Therapeutics will join forces in an all-stock transaction to create a leading cell therapy company focused on the treatment of solid tumors.
Gamma delta T cells are an area of focus for Adicet Bio, as he hopes to develop ready-to-use allogeneic genetically modified gamma delta T cells that selectively target tumors. Based in Boston, the company believes that gamma delta T cells have unique attributes that make them especially suitable for cancer therapy, with features that combine adaptive – gamma delta TCR-mediated – and innate – like NK cells – immunity to specifically recognize and eliminate tumor cells. without damaging normal, healthy cells.
Adicet therapy – aimed at various haematological cancers and solid tumors, as well as other diseases – involves engineering gamma delta T cells with chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) and T cell receptors (TCRs) directed at tumor-specific cell surfaces or intracellular targets. This can allow for proper involvement and killing of tumor cells.
The company currently has seven wholly owned programs, with one in clinical development, which is its prime candidate, ADI-001, for the treatment of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).
Fate Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on immunotherapy, bringing a line of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived cellular immunotherapies to patients with cancer and autoimmune disorders. The company used its proprietary iPSC product platform to produce human iPSCs, which were in turn used to create a line of clonal master iPSCs genetically engineered to produce well-defined and uniform NK and T cell products.
Fate Therapeutics has a pipeline of immuno-oncology programs targeting a wide variety of liquid and solid tumors. It currently has two programs in clinical development for multiple myeloma and B cell malignancies and another two programs in preclinical development for B cell lymphoma and solid tumors.
The cell therapy company also has an undisclosed preclinical candidate for an autoimmune disorder, using iPSC-derived NK cells.
UK-based company Rinri Therapeutics is working in a niche area to develop regenerative cell therapies for hearing loss, with hopes of reversing hearing loss by replacing dead or damaged inner ear-specific sensor cells that cause sensorineural hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss accounts for 90% of all hearing loss in humans and is caused by damage to the sensory cells in the cochlea.
The company’s lead candidate is Rincell-1, which is a novel progenitor cell product derived from stem cells that can differentiate into mature auditory nerve cells. Once sent to the cochlea, they differentiate into auditory neurons, sending neurites to connect to auditory hair cells and return to the brainstem, eventually reconnecting circuits within the inner ear. This therapy has demonstrated long-term safety and efficacy in pre-clinical models, indicating a potential level of clinically significant functional restoration of hearing.
Rinri has raised £18.3 million ($22.5 million) from venture capital funds and non-dilutive funding and, having successfully developed Ricell-1 through preclinical development, now hopes to advance the product towards first human trials.
Umoja Biopharma is focused on pioneering the future of immunotherapy for solid tumors by reprogramming T cells in vivo, not ex vivo, using CAR-T cell therapy. Because the company’s platform, VivoVec, is designed to manufacture CAR-T cell therapy in patients’ own bodies, it should be able to deliver cell therapy at a lower cost and faster rate than ex vivo engineered T cells.
Umoja’s UB-VV200 solid tumor program combines three different technologies to attack tumors: the VivoVec delivery system, which allows engineered CAR-T cells directly in the patient’s body; a receptor known as RACR, which is added to CAR-T cells promoting T-cell persistence and cell survival; and TumorTags, which allow the company’s CAR-T cell therapy to recognize different parts of the tumor microenvironment for more precise targeting.
In addition to the UB-VV200 program, the company currently has two other therapy programs in preclinical development for haematological malignancies and gynecological tumors.