Partnership Leverages Lineage’s Investigational VAC Allogeneic Cancer Vaccine Platform and Immunomic’s Proprietary Tumor Associated Antigen to Generate a Novel Oncology Product Candidate
ROCKVILLE, Md. & CARLSBAD, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc., (“ITI”), a privately-held clinical stage biotechnology company pioneering the study of nucleic acid immunotherapy platforms, announced today a worldwide license and development collaboration agreement with Lineage Cell Therapeutics, Inc. (NYSE American and TASE: LCTX), a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing novel cell transplants for serious medical conditions. The collaboration will generate a novel product candidate derived from Lineage’s investigational allogeneic VAC cancer immunotherapy platform and targeting a proprietary Tumor Associated Antigen (TAA) construct provided by ITI, for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Lineage and ITI will collaborate in the manufacturing and clinical development of a novel VAC product candidate. Following the full development and delivery of Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) VAC product material, ITI will assume full and independent clinical and commercial responsibility and further advancement of the program. Under the terms of the agreement, Lineage will be entitled to an upfront payment of $2 million paid in the first year and development and commercial milestones totaling $67 million across multiple indications. Lineage also will be eligible to receive royalties up to 10% on future product sales.
“We’re very pleased to collaborate with Lineage, a well-recognized cell therapy company, to expand our pipeline with the development of a novel product candidate to treat GBM,” commented Dr. William Hearl, CEO of ITI. “Over the last several years, ITI has invested significant capital and development resources to identifying multiple novel paths forward in GBM. By teaming up with Lineage, we are hoping to expand our efforts in this difficult to treat indication and look forward to the benefit that the VAC immunotherapy platform can bring to our antigen constructs.”
“The VAC platform provides us with the opportunity to generate a broad pipeline of product candidates, each targeting a different type of cancer,” stated Brian Culley, Lineage CEO. “This collaboration represents the first of many partnerships we hope to enter into with our platform and we believe it helps further validate VAC as a promising new therapeutic vaccine platform. Our objective is to leverage our technology to generate additional VAC-derived cell therapies for our pipeline, as well as in collaboration with partners, capitalizing on the strength of Lineage’s recent manufacturing and cell transplant success. These alliances also will diversify our oncology pipeline across more programs, providing new opportunities for success without the financial burden of independent development. We appreciate ITI selecting our antigen delivery platform for this collaboration and look forward to a productive partnership on this new VAC-derived product candidate. We also are eager to collaborate with additional partners on future versions of VAC.”
About Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM)
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) (also called glioblastoma) is a fast-growing glioma that develops from star-shaped glial cells (astrocytes and oligodendrocytes) that support the health of the nerve cells within the brain. GBM is often referred to as a grade IV astrocytoma. These are the most invasive type of glial tumors, rapidly growing and commonly spreading into nearby brain tissue. GBMs can arise in the brain “de novo” or evolve from lower-grade astrocytomas or oligodendrogliomas. In adults, GBM occurs most often in the cerebral hemispheres, especially in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. GBM is a devastating brain cancer that typically results in death in the first 15 months after diagnosis, with only 25% of glioblastoma patients surviving more than one year, and only 5% of patients surviving more than five years.
VAC2 is an allogeneic, or non-patient specific “off-the-shelf,” cancer vaccine product candidate designed to stimulate patient immune responses to an antigen commonly expressed in cancerous cells but not in normal adult cells. VAC2, which is produced from a pluripotent cell technology using a directed differentiation method, is comprised of a population of nonproliferating mature dendritic cells. As the most potent type of antigen presenting cell in the body, dendritic cells instruct the body’s immune system to attack and eliminate harmful pathogens and unwanted cells. Because the tumor antigen is loaded exogenously into the dendritic cells prior to administration, VAC2 is a platform technology that can be modified to carry selected antigens, including patient-specific tumor neo-antigens or viral antigens. VAC2 is currently being tested in a Phase 1 study in adult patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in the advanced and adjuvant settings (NCT03371485), conducted by Cancer Research UK.
About Lineage Cell Therapeutics, Inc.
Lineage Cell Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing novel cell therapies for unmet medical needs. Lineage’s programs are based on its robust proprietary cell-based therapy platform and associated in-house development and manufacturing capabilities. With this platform Lineage develops and manufactures specialized, terminally differentiated human cells from its pluripotent and progenitor cell starting materials. These differentiated cells are developed to either replace or support cells that are dysfunctional or absent due to degenerative disease or traumatic injury or administered as a means of helping the body mount an effective immune response to cancer. Lineage’s clinical programs are in markets with billion dollar opportunities and include three allogeneic (“off-the-shelf”) product candidates: (i) OpRegen®, a retinal pigment epithelium transplant therapy in Phase 1/2a development for the treatment of dry age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in the developed world; (ii) OPC1, an oligodendrocyte progenitor cell therapy in Phase 1/2a development for the treatment of acute spinal cord injuries; and (iii) VAC, an allogeneic dendritic cell therapy platform for immuno-oncology and infectious disease, currently in clinical development for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer. For more information, please visit www.lineagecell.com or follow the Company on Twitter @LineageCell.
About Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc.
Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc. (ITI) is a privately-held, clinical stage biotechnology company pioneering the development of vaccines through its investigational proprietary technology platform, UNiversal Intracellular Targeted Expression (UNITE), which is designed to utilize the body’s natural biochemistry to develop vaccines that have the potential to generate broad immune responses. The UNITE platform has a robust history of applications in various therapeutic areas, including infectious diseases, oncology, allergy and autoimmune diseases. ITI is primarily focused on applying the UNITE platform to oncology, where it could potentially have broad applications, including targeting viral antigens, cancer antigens, neoantigens and producing antigen-derived antibodies as biologics. In 2020, an investment of over $77M by HLB Co., LTD, a global pharmaceutical company, enabled ITI to accelerate application of its immuno-oncology platform, in particular to glioblastoma multiforme, and rapidly advance other key candidates in the pipeline, including the most recent initiative into infectious diseases with development of its vaccine candidate for COVID-19. The Company has built a large pipeline from UNITE with eight oncology programs, multiple animal health programs and a SARS-CoV-2 program to prevent and treat COVID-19. ITI has entered into a significant allergy partnership with Astellas Pharma and has formed several academic collaborations with leading Immuno-oncology researchers at Duke University and the University of Florida. ITI maintains its headquarters in Rockville, Maryland. For more information, please visit www.immunomix.com.