MD Anderson will have exclusive rights to use Refuge's proprietary platform for next-generation cell engineering on tumor infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) programs.
The cancer center will also codevelop Refuge's RB-340, a human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-targeted, chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy with context-dependent, inducible down-regulation of programmed cell death 1 (PD-1). The codevelopment will include an investigational new drug (IND) filing, good manufacturing practice (GMP) production, and phase I/II clinical trials.
Refuge's technology programs cells to selectively react to tumor cells through direct modulation of gene expression using CRISPR interference and activation. RB-340 is designed to conditionally down-regulate expression of PD-1 on approaching tumor cells, reduce T-cell exhaustion, and increase T-cell persistence and proliferation to create better efficacy against solid tumors. Preclinical models show a clear survival benefit with RB-340 compared with conventional CAR T-cell therapy, MD Anderson said.
The IND filing is anticipated in the first half of next year with clinical development of RB-340 focused on solid tumors, the cancer center added.
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