AbbVie has formed an alliance with Scripps Research’s non-profit drug discovery unit Calibr to develop next-generation T-cell therapies that are aimed at targeting various cancers, including solid tumours.
The deal extends AbbVie’s oncology research and provides access to advanced precision medicine technology for advancing the development of potentially life-changing treatments.
Calibr designed a new cell therapy programme to improve safety, versatility and efficacy of chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapies which are currently limited due to rapid activation and expansion of cells, resulting in adverse events.
The new programme uses a modular ‘switchable’ CAR-T cell that leverages antibody-based switch molecules to regulate the CAR-T cell activation and antigen specificity.
It is expected that Calibr’s technology will potentially facilitate universal CAR-T-based treatments for a variety of haematological and solid tumour indications.
AbbVie Oncology Early Development vice-president and head Mohit Trikha said: “Calibr has assembled a premier scientific team and developed an innovative cell therapy technology that can take us to the next frontier of cancer treatment.
“The combination of AbbVie’s oncology discovery and early development expertise and Calibr’s novel switchable CAR-T therapy platform aims to advance the current standard of care, with the potential to rapidly advance new treatment options for patients.”
As per the agreement, Calibr will receive an upfront license fee from AbbVie and in turn AbbVie will get exclusive access to the switchable CAR-T platform for up to four years.
Furthermore, AbbVie has the option to develop additional cell therapies as well as licence current Calibr cell therapy programmes being developed for haematological and solid cancers.
The companies agreed to share preclinical development responsibility, while AbbVie will carry out clinical development and commercialisation.