MD Anderson and Cellectis announce pre-clinical and clinical alliance in cancer immunotherapy

MD Anderson News Release 09/03/2015

Cellectis, the gene editing company employing proprietary technologies to develop best-in-class CAR T-cell products in adoptive immunotherapy for cancer, and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have entered into a research and development alliance aimed at bringing novel cellular immunotherapies to patients suffering from different types of liquid tumors.

The alliance is aimed at developing novel cancer immunotherapies based on Cellectis’ allogeneic chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) platform. MD Anderson’s leukemia and myeloma teams will work with Cellectis to bring better treatments to patients suffering from cancers with high unmet needs, particularly multiple myeloma (MM), acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), T-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) and blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm (BPDCN).

The alliance will build on MD Anderson’s extensive translational and state-of-the-art pre-clinical and clinical teams in leukemia and myeloma, coupled with Cellectis’ first-in-class allogeneic CAR T-cell therapy approach and manufacturing capabilities, to pursue the development of Cellectis’ candidate products UCARTCS1, UCART22, UCART38 in T-cell ALL and UCART123 in the rare incurable disease BPDCN. Cellectis has built an allogeneic CAR T-cell approach based on proprietary gene editing technologies, aimed at developing off-the-shelf cellular therapies for cancer treatment.

At MD Anderson, the alliance will be under the direction of Hagop Kantarjian, M.D., chair, Department of Leukemia, and Robert Orlowski, M.D., Ph.D., ad interim chair, Department of Lymphoma/Myeloma. MD Anderson’s Leukemia program is known for its clinical trials and patient treatment using chemotherapies, tyrosine kinase inhibitors and monoclonal antibodies.  

“We are extremely proud to have our research teams partnering with MD Anderson as we aim to address treatments for different types of liquid tumors,” said Mathieu Simon, M.D., executive vice president and chief operating officer at Cellectis. “This alliance could potentially drive up to five clinical developments within a time horizon of three years. Together, we are confident that we will quickly bring new therapeutic solutions to patients.”

“Our efforts are always focused on providing more effective care for our patients,” said Kantarjian. “Alliances such as this one are one more way that we can explore how to bring the latest therapies to the patients who need them.”

“Significant unmet medical need exists in many types of liquid tumors. Cellectis is committed to changing patient expectations as we're building a portfolio of candidate products in immune-oncology through our own research and key collaborations such as with MD Anderson,” said André Choulika, Ph.D., chief executive officer and chairman of Cellectis. “We're highly encouraged by the potential of our product candidate pipeline to deliver innovative, best-in-class treatment options to patients.”  

“Immunotherapy is increasingly a significant element in cancer treatment,” said Orlowski. “It is my hope that patients with multiple myeloma and other cancers will benefit through this alliance.”