NEW YORK – Cellevolve Bio and Seattle Children's Therapeutics on Wednesday announced they will work together to develop and commercialize CAR T-cell therapies for pediatric cancers of the central nervous system.
Within the partnership, cell therapy firm Cellevolve and Seattle Children's Therapeutics, a venture at the Seattle Children's Hospital, will advance a research program, called BrainChild. Currently, within this program three Phase I trials — BrainChild-01, BrainChild-02, and BrainChild-03 — are underway exploring the activity of autologous cell therapies targeting HER2, EGFR, and B7-H3 on pediatric brain cancer cells. The partners will advance these trials and add a fourth BrainChild CAR T-cell therapy study.
Seattle Children's will make its manufacturing facilities available within this collaboration, including its good manufacturing practice (GMP) Cure Factory and its VectorWorks facility, which it will use to expand production of the lentiviral vectors used to manufacture cell therapies. San Francisco-based Cellevolve, meanwhile, will financially support early discovery research as well as preclinical and Phase I clinical studies, and then take the lead on any Phase II and subsequent studies with Seattle Children's involvement.
Although the partners didn't disclose the financial details of the collaboration, Cellevolve said it will pay Seattle Children's Therapeutics for development milestones and give Seattle Children's an equity stake in the company. In exchange, Cellevolve will receive the global licensing rights for any treatments emerging from the collaboration.
The partners will focus on developing CAR T-cell therapies for childhood CNS cancers for the time being but are open to expanding into adult cancers in the future. As part of the deal, Michael Jensen, chief therapeutics officer at Seattle Children's Therapeutics, will join Cellevolve as a founding adviser and scientific advisory board chair.