Immunotherapy is becoming a keystone of emerging therapies to treat cancer. Although the field of immune-oncology is still relatively new, there have been impressive achievements and demonstrations of potentially breakthrough treatments. One of the recent approaches in the field of immune-oncology is adaptive cell therapy (ACT), a technique which harnesses the immune system to attack cancer cells. This approach has shown itself to be a real game-changer in targeting hematological tumors, so much so that there are two products already on the market. These therapies utilize autologous cells (the patient’s own cells) which present serious challenges in terms of production and cost. The next breakthrough for immune-oncology will be the development of off the shelf, ready-made products.
Earlier this year, at the Biomed 2019 conference in Tel Aviv, I had the chance to meet the biopharma startup Adicet Bio. Adicet addresses the key drawbacks of ACT by developing allogenic, mass produced treatments derived from the immune cells of healthy donors. These immune cells (gamma delta T cells) carry CARs (Chimeric Antigen Receptors) which act as a homing mechanisms and direct the T cells to particular targets on the tumor cells. This therapeutic technique is known as CAR-T. Each batch of Adicet’s cells can treat 100-1000 patients and carry additional payloads to enable their persistence and penetration into the tumors.
First proof of Concept in Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
The first proof of concept for Adicet Bio’s technology will be a clinical trial in Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The company is expected to begin the study in 2020 with its lead asset, CD20 CAR-T, which has shown promising preclinical results. We, at aMoon, were very impressed by the technology, the preclinical data, and Adicet’s team, and after performing a thorough due-diligence process we decided to lead this investment round.
We believe that adoptive cell therapies are reaching a tipping point which will lead to accelerated progress in CAR-T and other ACT approaches in curing cancer. Adicet Bio maintains a large portfolio of gamma delta T cell assets that are being developed for both liquid and solid tumors, which have shown encouraging preclinical data. If the upcoming study is successful, it could revolutionize the field of allogeneic cell therapies by providing a unified, immediately available, potent, and affordable alternative to currently available treatments.
At aMoon, we see enormous potential in the rapidly developing field of immunotherapy. We’re particularly excited to add Adicet Bio to our portfolio of other biopharmaceutical companies, including Ayala, Curesponse, and Aummune. These companies are at the forefront of science: driving development and accelerating cure for patients who are facing various, and potentially fatal, types of cancer. These are the therapies with the potential to make a significant impact in the field of cancer treatment, and in patients’ lives.