Gothenburg, January 9, 2024 - Elicera Therapeutics AB (publ), a clinical stage cell and gene therapy company developing next generation cancer treatments based on its proprietary commercial technology platform iTANK, today announced that a collaborative project with Vecura at Karolinska University Hospital and Uppsala University has been awarded SEK 850,000 from the Center for Advanced Medical Products (CAMP). The purpose of the project is to develop an automated production process of CAR T-cells (ELC-401) for use in clinical studies.
CAR T-cell therapies are produced by extracting T-cells from the patient and modifying them in the laboratory so that they produce specific proteins on the surface, so-called chimeric antigen receptors, CARs. Currently, this is done in a partially open process, which entails risks of contamination of the CAR T-cells.
The production process will be developed in a research lab at Uppsala University, and tech-transferred to Vecura – a GMP manufacturing unit for advanced therapy medicinal products at Karolinska University Hospital. Elicera contributes by providing the research grade and GMP grade vector necessary for implementation. The goal is to generate better quality of ELC-401 drug product, and reduce the lead time between extraction of T-cells and treatment with the finished CAR T-cells.
"We are very pleased that CAMP supports this project, which gives us the opportunity to further develop our production process of CAR T-cells. The reduced risk of contamination and shortened lead times will significantly increase our competitiveness in the development of new CAR T-cell treatments,” says Jamal El-Mosleh, CEO of Elicera Therapeutics.”
The project will be run within the framework of the development of the company's CAR T-cell therapy ELC-401 against glioblastoma. The project is partially financed by the national center CAMP and is estimated to be completed within a year from the start of the project.
For further information please contact:
Jamal El-Mosleh, CEO, Elicera Therapeutics AB
Phone: +46 (0) 703 31 90 51
ELC-401 targets the tumor antigen IL13Ra2 – a receptor protein that is overrepresented in Glioblastoma/GBM (brain tumors). The company has been able to show in a preclinical study that IL13Ra2 is an effective tumor target for iTANK-enhanced CAR T-cells. The study, published in Nature Communications in 2023, evaluated the synthetic receptor underlying ELC-401. The results showed, among other things, that the CAR T-cells had a potent cell-killing effect and prolonged survival in the disease model. Thanks to iTANK, ELC-401 is also expected to be able to counteract the strong immunosuppressive microenvironment in glioblastoma and mobilize an immune response also against other targets in this heterogeneous form of cancer. ELC-401 is currently in a late preclinical evaluation phase and the company is evaluating the optimal route of administration for the CAR T-cell therapy.
About the iTANK platform
The iTANK technology platform has been developed for arming and enhancing CAR T-cells to meet two of the major challenges CAR T-cell therapies face in the treatment of solid tumors: tumor antigen heterogeneity and a hostile tumor microenvironment. The technology is used to incorporate a transgene into CAR T-cells encoding a neutrophil activating protein (NAP) from the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. NAP secreted from the CAR(NAP) T-cells has been shown to be able to enhance the function of CAR T-cells and importantly activating a parallel bystander immune response against the cancer via CD8+ killer T-cells. This is expected to lead to a broad attack against most antigen targets on cancer cells. The iTANK platform is used to enhance the company’s own CAR T-cells but can also be universally applied to other CAR T-cell therapies under development. Proof-of-concept data was published in Nature Biomedical Engineering in April 2022. The publication, titled “CAR T cells expressing a bacterial virulence factor trigger potent bystander antitumour responses in solid cancers” (DOI number: 10.1038/s41551-022-00875-5) can be found here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41551-022-00875-5. More information about iTANK platform is available here: https://www.elicera.com/technology
About Elicera Therapeutics AB
Elicera Therapeutics AB (publ) has developed the patented gene technology platform iTANK that enables the arming of new and existing CAR T-cell therapies targeting aggressive and relapsing cancer forms. Elicera Therapeutics thereby addresses a well-defined and vast market. The company’s CAR T-cell therapies have shown a potent effect toward solid tumors which are recognized as particularly difficult to treat and constitute the majority of cancer cases. The company addresses a global multibillion market in cell therapy through its offering of non-exclusive licensing of the iTANK-platform to companies in the pharmaceutical industry. Elicera Therapeutics has four internal development projects in immune therapy that separately have the potential to generate substantial value through exclusive out-licensing agreements. The company’s share is traded on Nasdaq First North Growth Market. The company’s certified advisor is Carnegie Investment Bank AB (publ), www.carnegie.se. For additional information, visit www.elicera.com.