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Bayer leads a $105 million in funding to develop a cell therapy pipeline. 

Bayer’s venture investment arm is leading a $105 million funding round in closely held Senti Biosciences which uses synthetic biology to develop off-the-shelf cell therapies for cancer. 

Senti is currently advancing two experimental treatments using natural killer immune cells to attack tumors in leukemia and liver cancer. The company believes its technology can develop treatments with greater precision and control than current cell therapies.

Current cell therapies use patients’ T cells to treat blood cancers, an approach that requires a lengthy manufacturing process to re-engineer the cells to attack diseased cells.

(Source: Biopharma Dive, 2021)

Gilead’s Kite and Oxford BioTherapeutics to partner in researching cell therapies. 

Gilead Sciences’ Kite unit recently announced that it will be partnering with Oxford BioTherapeutics to develop a new batch of cell therapy products for solid tumors and blood cancers.

The partnership will cover five oncology targets identified by OBT using its discovery platform, and Oxford BioTherapeutics will try to develop antibodies against the targets. Gilead will then develop and commercialize therapies based on these targets or antibodies.

Under the terms of the agreement, Oxford BioTherapeutics will receive an undisclosed upfront payment, royalties and may receive additional payments based on discovery, clinical and regulatory milestones achieved.

(Source: Pharma Phorum, 2021)

Pfizer doses its first participant in Phase 3 Study for investigational Gene Therapy for treatment of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD).

Pfizer recently announced that its first participant has been dosed in the Phase 3 CIFFREO study, which will evaluate the efficacy and safety of investigational gene therapy candidate PF-06939926 in males with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). 

The CIFFREO trial is expected to enroll 99 ambulatory male patients, ages 4 through 7, across 55 clinical trial sites across 15 countries. CIFFREO is a Phase 3 global, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. 

PF-06939926 received Fast Track designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2020, as well as Orphan Drug and Rare Pediatric Disease designations in the United States back in 2017. 

The primary goal of the study is the change from baseline in the North Star Ambulatory Assessment (NSAA) at one year. The NSAA is a 17-item test that measures gross motor function in boys with DMD. Participants will be followed in the CIFFREO study for five years after treatment with the investigational gene therapy. 

DMD is an X-linked disease that is caused by mutations in the gene encoding dystrophin, which is needed for muscle membrane stability. 

(Source: Business Wire, 2021)