01 Aug 2013, BioSpectrum Bureau , BioSpectrum
Singapore: Life Technologies has signed a long-term supply and exclusive licensing agreement with Novartis for immunotherapeutics involving T cells modified to express chimeric antigen receptors for the treatment of cancer. Life Technologies will provide the company's proprietary technology, Dynabeads CD3/CD28 CTS, which possess unique biological properties suited to production of active, therapeutically relevant immune system cells.
The agreement includes rights to use Life Technologies' intellectual property to perform the resulting therapy, and is exclusive for use in the field of chimeric antigen receptors for the treatment of cancer.
"The collaboration with Novartis highlights the distinct capabilities that Life Technologies can provide in the therapeutic realm," said Mr Greg Lucier, chairman and CEO of Life Technologies. "Taken with our previous announcements of companion diagnostic collaborations, the current agreement demonstrates how Life is uniquely positioned to facilitate drug development through alliances with pharma," he said.
Chimeric antigen receptor T cell based immunotherapy constitutes a novel, individualized method of combating cancers. Novartis is working to commercialize technology developed at the University of Pennsylvania that has demonstrated startling efficacy in research studies. In two 2011 publications, University of Pennsylvania researchers described application of immunotherapy in three patients, all of whom experienced durable complete or partial remission of their cancers within three to four weeks of treatment. A 2013 publication in the New England Journal of Medicine described complete responses with one ongoing in two children with leukemia.
The personalized therapy consists of removing blood cells from cancer patients; isolating and activating T cells; genetically modifying the T cells thereby programming those cells to recognize and attack cancer cells; expanding the T cells; and, lastly, introducing those cells back into the body so the patient's immune system can take over. Under the terms of the current agreement, Life Technologies' Dynabeads, will be used to isolate, activate and expand the T cells.
"Dynabeads CD3/CD28 CTS have unique properties that are ideal for producing a robust immunotherapeutic," said Oystein Aamellem, head of Cellular Medicine at Life Technologies. "Not only do the beads assure that T cells are separated from any unwanted cells, it also triggers the T cells to reproduce in a natural and controlled manner, ensuring a therapeutically relevant population is transferred back into the patient," Aamellem added.
"The current agreement with Novartis represents a significant step in the growth of Life Technologies from a research tools provider to a leading medical device company," said Mr Greg Lucier. "We're very excited about the opportunity to work with Novartis to deliver novel therapeutics to fill a critical need in cancer care," he added.