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Aleta Biotherapeutics, Cancer Research UK Partner on CAR T-Cell Engager Trial

NEW YORK – Aleta Biotherapeutics said on Wednesday that it has partnered with Cancer Research UK on a Phase I/II trial of its investigational CAR T-cell engager therapy ALETA-001 for B-cell lymphoma and leukemia patients previously treated with anti-CD19 CAR T-cell therapy.

Natick, Massachusetts-based Aleta believes that the therapy, which is designed to bind to CD20-positive cancer cells such that they re-engage circulating anti-CD19 CAR T cells, can overcome resistance to existing CAR T-cell therapies that affects roughly half of patients who receive them.

Through the clinical development partnership, Cancer Research UK's Center for Drug Development will sponsor and conduct the study at Manchester-based Christie NHS Foundation Trust. Aleta will retain rights to further develop the therapy, including through a US-based multicenter Phase II trial for patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, which is planned following determination of the recommended Phase II dose.

Aleta will receive a license to the results of the Phase I/II trial in exchange for undisclosed success-based milestone and royalty payments.

"Our collaboration with Cancer Research UK is a strong endorsement of the potential of our scientific platform to address the critical issues of CAR T-cell persistence, tumor antigen loss leading to patient relapse, and tumor antigen heterogeneity," Paul Rennert, Aleta's cofounder and CSO, said in a statement.