GC Cell has concluded a material transfer agreement with Mogam Institute for Biomedical Research to expand its chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) development pipeline.
Under the accord, GC Cell will conduct research and development with Mesothelin, which can target cancer-specific antigen possessed by Mogam, in treating solid cancers.
The CAR-T therapeutic agent is an upgraded version of conventional immune cell therapeutic agents that treats patient's T cells in vitro to produce CARs on the surface of immune cells, which, in turn, recognizes specific protein antigens on the cancer cell surface. Afterward, the patient receives the antigen which then acts as a missile to attack the cancer cells.
To produce such a powerful CAR-T therapeutic agent, the company required a gene therapeutic agent technology capable of explicitly recognizing cancer cells and expressing them on the surface of T cells. The company also needed a cell therapy agent capable of stable mass production.
As of now, CAR-T therapeutic agents approved for marketing worldwide has shown remarkable therapeutic effect, but only covers hematological cancer as it has side effects such as cytokine release syndrome and neurotoxicity.
Notably, the solid cancer field is slow as the infiltration rate of T cells is low due to the tumor microenvironment, while it is also challenging to exert the best anticancer effect as the infiltrating T cells have suppressed immune functions.
"The blood cancer field is already leading the CAR-T Therapeutics market with multinational pharmaceutical companies signing huge M&A agreement," GC Cell CEO Lee Deuk-joo said. "However, the solid cancer area is still at its early stages and holds great potential."The company plans to enter phase 1 clinical trial for pancreatic cancer using the newly acquired CAR-T treatment in the U.S. next year, Lee added.