Asterias collaborates with Cell Therapy Catapult to scale production of AST-VAC2
Posted: 13 October 2015 | Victoria White
AST-VAC2 is an immunotherapy product that contains mature dendritic cells derived from pluripotent stem cells…
The Cell Therapy Catapult will streamline and scale manufacturing processes for AST-VAC2 to support advanced clinical trials and eventual commercialisation of AST-VAC2.
AST-VAC2 is an immunotherapy product that contains mature dendritic cells derived from pluripotent stem cells. AST-VAC2 is engineered to express telomerase, a protein widely expressed in tumour cells, but rarely found in normal cells. The AST-VAC2 dendritic cells are designed to instruct the immune system to generate responses against telomerase and hence tumour cells.
To accelerate advancement of AST-VAC2, Asterias has an ongoing partnership with Cancer Research UK to execute the first stage of AST-VAC2 clinical development. As part of this partnership, Cancer Research UK will sponsor and manage a Phase 1/2a clinical trial of AST-VAC2 in patients with non-small cell lung carcinoma. The clinical trial will examine the safety, immunogenicity and activity of AST-VAC2 in these patients and Cancer Research UK will undertake the manufacture of the immunotherapeutic cells in support of this trial.
“The clinical trial being performed in partnership with Cancer Research UK is designed to establish the safety and activity of AST-VAC2 and will serve as a launch point for clinical development in lung cancer and other cancer indications alone and in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors,” said Jane S. Lebkowski, Ph.D, Asterias’ President of R&D and Chief Scientific Officer. “The new collaboration with the Cell Therapy Catapult will strategically fit with Asterias’ objectives for advanced clinical development of AST-VAC2 by providing scaled manufacturing procedures enabling supplies for multiple clinical trials.”
Collaboration allows Asterias to accelerate its development and manufacturing processes
The collaboration with the Cell Therapy Catapult will trigger the initiation of an Asterias subsidiary in the UK.
“The establishment of a subsidiary in the UK provides Asterias with the ability to effectively collaborate with both Cancer Research UK and the Cell Therapy Catapult Centre at a low cost in the medium term while providing a base from which to grow our AST-VAC2 platform and maximise its value,” stated Pedro Lichtinger, Asterias’ Chief Executive Officer.
“This partnership with the Cell Therapy Catapult allows Asterias to accelerate its development of manufacturing processes that will be compatible with the commercial needs of our cell based products,” stated Katy Spink Ph.D., Asterias’ Chief Operating Officer.