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Why is Sana so sucking money? 1) From the perspective of pipeline, Sana is in the two hot tracks of gene therapy and cell therapy.
Its research pipeline includes therapies that can directly transform T cells into CAR-T cells in patients without genetic engineering in vitro.
, And a universal cell therapy that does not cause immune rejection; 2) From a technical point of view, Sana obtained a technology licensed from Harvard University only two months after its establishment.
This technology can produce low-immunity stem cells.
This provides raw materials for the development of new cell therapies, which is very helpful to increase the speed of cell therapy research.
In addition, the company is also developing gene editing tools that can perform precise gene editing on different cells; 3) From the team's point of view Sana was founded by Hans Bishop, CEO of Juno Therapeutics, a leading protocell therapy company, and brought together the original Juno team.
The founding team of scientists included Dr.
David Baker, director of the Institute of Protein Design at the University of Washington School of Medicine, and Chad Cowan, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School.
In addition to the eye-catching Sana, CARISMA Therapeutics was active in Q1 and involved two financing incidents.
CARISMA is an American biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of a differentiated proprietary cell therapy platform for engineered macrophages.
It completed two consecutive rounds of financing in January and March, totaling approximately US$100 million.
The funds raised will be used to advance the clinical development of the company’s current projects and the discovery of new projects, including the main drug candidate CT-0508, a phase I clinical trial of HER2 targeting CAR-M, and will enable CARISMA to further develop its The proprietary engineered macrophage platform continues to expand the cancer indication pipeline and even applies to diseases other than cancer.
On March 18, CARISMA announced that it has completed the first patient administration of CT-0508 in a phase I multi-center clinical trial (NCT04660929).
This clinical trial represents a key milestone in the development of gene therapy, as this is the first time that CAR-M therapy has been used in human studies.
Domestic: CAR-T and TIL are the hottest, emerging technologies attract attentionDomestic: CAR-T and TIL are the hottest, emerging technologies attract attention
There were 10 cell therapy-related financing events in the first quarter of China.
From a technical point of view, CAR-T and TIL therapies are popular.
In terms of indications, cancer is still the most important direction.
In addition to mainstream T cell therapy, some emerging technologies have also gained attention, such as Red-Cell Therapeutics (RCT).
Overview of domestic financing in the field of cell therapy in 2021Q1
As a branch of cell therapy technology, RCT uses red blood cells as the main drug carrier and can be used for the treatment of various diseases such as cancer, immune and metabolic diseases, and infectious diseases.
Xihu Biomedicine is the first domestic company to focus on RCT.
On March 8, the company completed a Pre A+ round of financing of nearly 100 million yuan to accelerate its RCT preclinical research and discovery.
The RCT engineered using stem cells was first pioneered by the American biologic company Rubius Therapeutics.
Its original RCT technology can transform donor hematopoietic stem cells into special therapeutic red blood cells, culture them on a large scale in vitro, and then use them as drug carriers.
"Blood transfusion" is the same as infusing drugs back into the patient's body to treat various diseases.
RTX-240 is an allogeneic spot-type cell therapy designed to present hundreds of thousands of costimulatory molecules 4-1BBL and IL-15TP at the same time, thereby activating and expanding NK cells and memory T cells, enhancing the body’s immunity to kill Tumor cells.
(Source: Rubius Therapeutics official website)
(Source: Rubius Therapeutics official website)
Rubius announced on March 15 the preliminary clinical, pharmacodynamic and tumor metastasis data of the Phase I/II clinical trial of its main product candidate RTX-240 in patients with advanced solid tumors.
This made its share price soared by 84.
Giants: CAR-NK "True Fragrance"Giants: CAR-NK "True Fragrance"
In addition to the financing of a large number of cell therapy companies, in the first quarter, there were three pharmaceutical giants that strengthened their layout in this field through transaction cooperation.
Among them, CAR-NK therapy received a large order of more than 1.
8 billion US dollars.
2021Q1 Cell Therapy Field Giants Transaction Cooperation
On January 28, Artiva Biotherapeutics, an American biotechnology company dedicated to the development of anti-cancer NK cell therapies, announced that it has signed a global exclusive cooperation and licensing agreement with Merck & Co.
totaling more than 1.
8 billion US dollars to use Artiva's spot-type allogeneic NK cell manufacturing platform And proprietary CAR-NK technology to develop new CAR-NK cell therapy for solid tumor-related antigens.
Artiva has been active in the past two years.
On June 26 last year, it went out of stealth mode and announced the completion of a US$78 million Series A financing.
One month after the cooperation with Merck, Artiva announced the completion of a US$120 million Series B financing.
This also reflects to a certain extent that NK cell therapy has become a new frontier for immunotherapy.
Although compared with T cell therapy, NK cell therapy is newer, but it has unique advantages: 1) Pan-specific killing effect makes the anti-tumor spectrum of NK cells unrestricted; 2) Good safety, NK cells will not cause cytokines Release syndrome or graft-versus-host disease (a common side effect of T cell therapy); 3) It is particularly suitable for spot-type therapy, etc.
, which can be described as a "natural killer" of tumors.
Cellular immunotherapy is one of the most popular tumor treatment research directions in recent years, in which T cell therapy occupies a dominant position, but other cell therapies, such as NK cells, macrophages, myeloid cells, red blood cell therapy, and other new technologies are also constantly developing.
The indications continue to expand.
Stem cell therapy is another important type in the field of cell therapy, and it is also a very promising anti-cancer strategy.
Scientific research has found that stem cells, especially mesenchymal stem cells, can effectively deliver anti-tumor drugs.
Mesenchymal stem cells can also slow the progression of cancer by regulating the immune components in the tumor microenvironment.
In addition, stem cells may function as anti-cancer vaccines and can also be used to develop universal CAR-T/NK cell therapies, which has great potential.
In summary, the field of cell therapy is still "full-blown".
In 2021Q1, there are still many companies that have completed financing, 8 companies have IPOs, and pharmaceutical giants are still increasing investment in layout.
Looking forward to more innovative cell therapies from the laboratory to the clinic in the near future, benefiting patients.