Clinical-stage oncology company Prescient Therapeutics (ASX: PTX) has today unveiled the latest technology in its portfolio, a high-performance platform known as CellPryme-M which is designed to enhance cell therapies.
Developed by Prescient in collaboration with world-leading cancer research institute the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, CellPryme-M produces superior cells during the cell manufacturing process which are “less prone to exhaustion, enabling longer duration of cancer killing activity, and are capable of improved tumour trafficking and penetrance compared to the current generation of CAR-T cells”.
According to Prescient, the CellPryme-M CAR-T cells perform “significantly better” than conventional CAR-T cells in highly aggressive solid cancer models.
CellPryme-M is now confirmed as ready for use in clinical studies and Prescient said it plans to use the platform to enhance the cells used in its breakthrough OmniCAR programs.
“This GMP [Good Manufacturing Practice] grade product can be easily incorporated into any CAR-T manufacturing program to significantly boost the cancer killing ability of T cells by skewing their phenotype to a less differentiated state,” Prescient senior vice president of scientific affair Dr Rebecca Lim explained.
“CellPryme-M alters key signalling pathways within as little as 15 minutes, which means that users can incorporate CellPryme-M into their manufacturing process with virtually no interruption, even if their manufacturing timeframes are only 24 to 48 hours.”
The company will also seek to licence CellPryme-M to other cell therapy companies to enhance conventional CAR-T programs and enter into value-adding collaborations with external parties.
Prescient’s second cell therapy platform, CellPryme-M, produces cells with superior phenotypes by influencing gene expression in immune cells. The cell phenotype determines clinical anti-cancer responses.
Cells produced from the CellPryme-M process have shown many favourable characteristics required from more effective cell therapies, including: 50% more central memory T cells (a highly clinically relevant sub-type); double proportion of CD4+ helper T cells (for synergy with effector T cells); significantly more chemokine receptors (important for tumour trafficking and penetrance); and greater genomic stability and DNA repair for enhanced self-renewal.
In a mouse model of highly aggressive breast cancer that was largely resistant to conventional CAR-T, CellPryme-M CAR-T cells nearly doubled tumour control compared to conventional CAR-T and “significantly improved survival”.
New business opportunity
Prescient managing director and chief executive officer Steven Yatomi-Clarke said CellPryme-M opens up an entirely new business opportunity to licence the platform to other cell therapy companies.
“It requires minimal intervention into existing and emerging manufacturing process and therefore represents a relatively low implementation hurdle.”
“This opens up real commercial opportunities for Prescient to incorporate CellPryme-M into third party manufacturing processes,” he added.
Dr Lim also said she sees “enormous potential” for CellPryme-M to benefit third party CAR-T programs that have struggled with getting good persistence and tumour penetrance with their CAR T cells.
“What is also exciting is that these effects are likely to extend CellPryme-M to other cell therapy modalities such as CAR-NK, TCR T cells etc, since persistence and tumour penetrance continues to be the key to tumour clearance,” she added.