GRAIL | June 06, 2022
GRAIL, LLC, a healthcare company whose mission is to detect cancer early when it can be cured, today announced a broad strategic collaboration with AstraZeneca (LSE/STO/Nasdaq: AZN) to develop and commercialize companion diagnostic (CDx) assays for use with AstraZeneca’s therapies. The collaboration will initially focus on developing companion diagnostic tests to identify patients with high-risk, early-stage disease, with plans to embark on numerous studies across multiple indications over the next several years. The parties are additionally planning to use GRAIL’s technology to enable recruitment of patients with early-stage cancer for AstraZeneca’s clinical studies.
GRAIL has developed a novel approach to detect cancer signals in blood, regardless of whether or not the patient has clinical symptoms. We are excited to embark on this work with AstraZeneca to transform cancer outcomes through a broad, strategic collaboration, Through our collaboration, we hope to provide critical information to improve the identification of patients who may be eligible for clinical trials and change clinical paradigms for the treatment of early-stage cancers."
Sir Harpal Kumar, President, Biopharma Business and Europe at GRAIL.
Across the projects within this collaboration, GRAIL will use its methylation platform to perform testing for patients enrolled in AstraZeneca’s clinical trials. GRAIL will seek regulatory approval in key markets for the liquid biopsy companion diagnostics.
Identifying and treating cancer early is at the heart of this strategic collaboration. Combining GRAIL’s innovative blood-based methylation profiling platform with AstraZeneca’s leadership in Oncology, we hope to accelerate the adoption of circulating tumor DNA across clinical trials and make our cancer medicines available at an earlier stage of disease when there is greater potential to transform patient outcomes, and even cure.”
Susan Galbraith, Executive Vice President of Oncology R&D, AstraZeneca.
GRAIL is developing its proprietary methylation platform for use in multiple post-diagnostic settings to identify patients at high risk of future cancer recurrence, detect the presence or absence of residual disease, and to inform treatment decisions, including identifying patients with cancer who may be eligible for neoadjuvant or adjuvant therapy. GRAIL’s technology platform is designed to optimize circulating tumor DNA testing to enable detection of early stage disease and minimal residual disease (MRD).
GRAIL is a healthcare company whose mission is to detect cancer early, when it can be cured. GRAIL is focused on alleviating the global burden of cancer by developing pioneering technology to detect and identify multiple deadly cancer types early. The company is using the power of next-generation sequencing, population-scale clinical studies, and state-of-the-art computer science and data science to enhance the scientific understanding of cancer biology, and to develop its multi-cancer early detection blood test. GRAIL is headquartered in Menlo Park, CA with locations in Washington, D.C., North Carolina, and the United Kingdom. GRAIL, LLC, is a subsidiary of Illumina, Inc. (NASDAQ:ILMN) currently held separate from Illumina Inc. under the terms of the Interim Measures Order of the European Commission dated 29 October 2021.
LUMICKS | May 26, 2022
LUMICKS, a leading life science tools company that develops instruments for dynamic single-molecule and cell avidity analysis, today announced the publication in Cancer Cell of preclinical research identifying "Avidity Enhancement" as a new strategy to improve therapeutic outcome of Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T cell immunotherapy in Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).
AML poses significant clinical challenges due to its resistance to therapies and its bleak prognosis. Approximately 20,000 people in the US and 300,000 worldwide die from AML every year, making it the most common form of acute leukemia in adults and a major public health issue.
The Cancer Cell paper (May 9, 2022), entitled "Non-cleavable hinge enhances avidity and expansion of CAR-T cells for acute myeloid leukemia," was authored by a team of CAR T cell researchers led by Dr. Marcela V. Maus, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Cellular Immunotherapy program at Massachusetts General Hospital.
The study details a novel strategy for better cancer treatment with CAR T cells for AML. "Avidity Enhancement", increasing cell-cell binding from both the tumor and CAR T cell side, led to a more effective eradication of tumors in mouse models of AML. In this paper, data generated using the LUMICKS z-Movi® Cell Avidity Analyzer provided superior correlation with CAR T cell activity in vivo compared to the standard in vitro assays in assessing the potency of CAR variants.
Building upon previous research from the Maus Lab indicating 'avidity escape' as an evasion mechanism when CAR T cell therapies are deployed against solid tumors, "avidity enhancement" is a promising strategy for improving clinical success of CAR T therapies.
We continue to be excited about the pivotal research emerging from The Maus Lab and other leading laboratories that demonstrates how researchers can leverage the technological and scientific power of measuring cell avidity with the z-Movi® Cell Avidity Analyzer, This work further solidifies the idea that cell avidity can be a unique biomarker to improve the selection of CAR T therapies for superior therapeutic outcomes in hematological malignancies as well as in solid tumors. We are delighted to collaborate with researchers worldwide in uncovering meaningful new insights, such as the new treatment approaches suggested for AML contained in this new paper in Cancer Cell."
Andrea Candelli, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of LUMICKS.
The z-Movi Cell Avidity Analyzer measures cell avidity, or level of binding, between immune cells and their targets, enabling researchers to identify the most potent immunotherapeutic effector cells. This unique technology provides predictive, reproducible, and fast results at single-cell resolution. LUMICKS' cell avidity solutions use acoustics to measure forces and interactions between cells, with the goal of shortening the drug development cycle of immunotherapies and reducing failure rates in clinical trials. First introduced in 2020, the z-Movi is being rapidly adopted by academic and biopharma laboratories around the world.
LUMICKS is a leading life science tools company that develops equipment for Dynamic Single-Molecule and Cell Avidity analysis, two rapidly emerging areas in biology research and immuno-oncology. LUMICKS' tools allow researchers to build the crucial and yet unfinished bridge between structure and function at both a molecular and a cellular level. This is achieved by applying and measuring forces around biological interactions, enabling the detailed real-time analysis of underlying biological mechanisms. LUMICKS' C-Trap® Optical Tweezers – Fluorescence & Label-free Microscopy, allows scientists to analyze complex biological processes in real-time. Similarly, the z-Movi® Cell Avidity Analyzer enables the measurement and selection of immune cells based on their real-time interactions with target cells.
SIGA Technologies Inc. | July 16, 2022
SIGA Technologies, Inc. a commercial-stage pharmaceutical company focused on the health security market, today announced a collaboration with KaliVir Immunotherapeutics to make TPOXX® available for use with KaliVir’s proprietary oncolytic vaccinia immunotherapy platform. This novel oncolytic platform includes multiple proprietary genetic modifications that can be combined to generate a unique oncolytic virus that has been optimized for systemic delivery and anti-tumor immune stimulation. Under this partnership, SIGA is providing its TPOXX oral capsules to support future clinical programs.
“KaliVir is an innovator in the creation of oncolytic viral immunotherapies, and we are excited to enter into this collaboration with them. TPOXX is a powerful antiviral drug to vaccinia and allows the safe use of higher doses of vaccinia vectors; there is also the potential it could increase immunotherapeutic outcomes. This collaboration helps bring new levels of assurance to physicians, regulators, and especially patients receiving these promising investigational therapies.”
Dr. Phil Gomez, CEO of SIGA
“We are pleased to announce this collaboration with SIGA Technologies,” said Helena Chaye, Ph.D., J.D., CEO of KaliVir. “Pairing oncolytic immunotherapies with an effective antiviral agent is a critical part of the development of new treatments, and we look forward to enhancing our groundbreaking oncolytic immunotherapy programs with the support of SIGA’s TPOXX.”
On July 13, 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved oral TPOXX for the treatment of smallpox to mitigate the impact of a potential outbreak or bioterror attack. In preclinical studies, TPOXX has been shown to be active against most orthopoxviruses, including vaccinia The unique mechanism of action of TPOXX coupled with published efficacy in animal studies, make it an important addition to development programs focused on vaccinia-based cancer therapies. In 2020, SIGA entered into numerous collaborations, including a partnership with Turnstone Biologics to supply TPOXX to support Turnstone’s clinical oncolytic vaccinia immunotherapy programs. In 2021, SIGA entered into a preclinical research collaboration with Bioarchitech to investigate TPOXX enabling higher doses of vaccinia vectors when used in combination with Bioarchitech’s oncolytic vaccinia-based immunotherapy platform.
ABOUT SIGA TECHNOLOGIES, INC. and TPOXX®
SIGA Technologies, Inc. is a commercial-stage pharmaceutical company focused on the health security market. Health security comprises countermeasures for biological, chemical, radiological and nuclear attacks (biodefense market), vaccines and therapies for emerging infectious diseases, and health preparedness. Our lead product is TPOXX®, also known as tecovirimat and ST-246®, an orally administered and IV formulation antiviral drug for the treatment of human smallpox disease caused by variola virus. TPOXX is a novel small-molecule drug and the US maintains a supply of TPOXX under Project BioShield. The oral formulation of TPOXX was approved by the FDA for the treatment of smallpox in 2018. The full label is available by clicking here. Oral tecovirimat received approval from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in 2022. The EMA approval includes labeling for oral tecovirimat indicating its use for the treatment of smallpox, monkeypox, cowpox, and vaccinia complications following vaccination against smallpox. The full label is available by clicking here. In September 2018, SIGA signed a contract with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, for additional procurement and development related to both oral and intravenous formulations of TPOXX.
ABOUT KALIVIR IMMUNOTHERAPEUTICS.
KaliVir Immunotherapeutics is a privately held biotech company developing cutting-edge, next-generation oncolytic viral immunotherapy programs. The company has developed a unique vaccinia virus-based platform that can generate potent novel oncolytic vaccinia viruses with modifications to maximize viral replication and to enhance intravenous delivery and spread (Vaccinia Enhanced Template “VET” Platform). VET™ platform utilizes the large transgene capacity of the vaccinia virus to deliver therapeutics matched to tumor immunophenotypes to stimulate patients’ immune systems and modify the tumor microenvironment. KaliVir’s oncolytic product candidates are designed to be safe, potent and systemically deliverable to treat cancer patients across multiple tumor types. KaliVir is in the process of advancing multiple therapeutic candidates toward the clinic.