MD Anderson and Obsidian Therapeutics announce strategic collaboration to accelerate advancement of novel engineered tumor infiltrating lymphocyte therapy (cytoTIL™) for solid tumors

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Obsidian Therapeutics, Inc. today announced a multi-year strategic collaboration designed to expedite the research and development of novel engineered tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) for the treatment of solid tumors. The agreement pairs Obsidian and its novel cytoDRiVE™ technology platform with MD Anderson’s extensive experience and state-of-the-art capabilities in TIL cell therapy, led by the Biologics Development platform, within the Therapeutics Discovery division.

The collaboration is focused on developing TIL armored with regulated membrane-bound IL15 (referred to as cytoTIL™) with the potential to enhance anti-tumor efficacy and reduce tumor burden in patients suffering from different types of solid tumors. The teams will collaborate to accelerate the development of cytoTIL, including process and analytical development and clinical readiness activities.

“TIL therapy has emerged as a promising option for treating patients with solid tumors, though its widespread use today is limited by safety and efficacy challenges,” said Rodabe Amaria, M.D., associate professor of Melanoma Medical Oncology at MD Anderson. “We are pleased to work with Obsidian to advance their novel cytoTIL program, which has the potential to drive more durable treatment responses and expand TIL therapy to a broader group of our patients.”  

The cytoTIL therapy is engineered using Obsidian's cytoDRiVE platform technology, which precisely and reversibly controls protein expression and activity using FDA-approved orally bioavailable drugs. By leveraging regulated membrane-bound IL15 to drive antigen-independent expansion of T cells and transactivation of NK cells, cytoTIL therapy is anticipated to improve patient response to TIL treatment and expand patient eligibility to those who currently cannot benefit from this transformative therapy.

“We are delighted to work with MD Anderson’s Biologics Development team to build upon the success of first generation TIL therapies and bring the first controllable TIL therapy to patients as rapidly as possible,” said Paul Wotton, Ph.D., CEO of Obsidian Therapeutics. “Through its cell therapy research platforms, deep clinical development experience, and industrial manufacturing capabilities, MD Anderson is a best-in-class collaborator to advance and accelerate cutting-edge cell therapies.”

MD Anderson’s Biologics Development platform is built around an experienced team focused on pioneering impactful biologic therapeutics, including antibodies and cell therapies. With a state-of-the-art 60,000 sq. foot GMP cell-therapy manufacturing facility, the platform joins MD Anderson expertise with the rigor of industrial development. Biologics Development offers a strong starting point for early-stage companies to access the breadth of MD Anderson capabilities in cell therapy development.

MD Anderson is implementing an Institutional Conflict of Interest Management and Monitoring Plan for any research related to this relationship.