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GSK partners with Lyell Immunopharma to develop cell therapies for cancer

Published on 09/10/19 at 10:40am

GlaxoSmithKline and Lyell Immunopharma have announced a five-year agreement to jointly develop new technologies to improve cell therapies for the treatment of a variety of cancers.

The partnership will apply Lyell’s technologies to enhance the efficacy of GlaxoSmithKline’s cell therapy pipeline, including GSK3377794.

According to the companies, next-generation engineering that leverages Lyell technologies could further improve the benefit-risk profile of GSK’s lead cell-therapy programme, amongst others in its pipeline.

GSK3377794 is an NY-ESO-1-directed genetically modified autologous T cell immunotherapy currently in mid-stage development and has been awarded both PRIME and breakthrough therapy designations by EU and US regulators based on its ability in synovial sarcoma.

Hal Barron, president of Research & Development at GSK, said: “Lyell’s novel approach to counter T-cell exhaustion and working with world class scientists… increases our probability of delivering the next generation of cancer cell therapies for patients with solid tumours.”

Barron also said Lyell is examining multiple approaches to enhance T-cell function and ‘fitness’ in order to boost initial response rates in solid tumours as well as prevent relapses caused by T-cell exhaustion.

In a statement both companies stated: “As Lyell addresses inhibition of T cells by the tumour in a fundamental way, there is an opportunity that these technologies can be used as a platform for multiple new cell and gene therapies that can be applied across a broad range of rare and prevalent solid cancers.”

Last year, GSK divested its rare-disease gene-therapy portfolio to Orchard Therapeutics, but kept its cell-therapy research programme which was largely based around a collaboration with Adaptimmune that began in 2014 and from which GSK3377794 emerged as the lead asset.

Nik Kiran

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