TD2 Supports CRISPR Therapeutics for Solid Cancer Study Involving CAR T Cells

Scottsdale, Ariz. (April 17, 2018) Translational Drug Development (TD2)—an oncology-specialty CRO that guides medicines through the preclinical, regulatory and clinical trial processes—conducted preclinical trials over the past six months that examined the effectiveness of a durable, off-the-shelf anti-CD70 CAR T cell against a human clear cell renal carcinoma tumor xenograft model. Results of the studies, performed in partnership with the study sponsor CRISPR Therapeutics, were presented at the AACR Annual Meeting in Chicago on April 16, 2018.

While there have been recent commercial approvals of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells to treat leukemia and lymphoma, there is limited preclinical and clinical activity reported for CAR T cells directed at solid tumor antigens. To address this, CRISPR Therapeutics—a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing transformative gene-based medicines for serious diseases—developed allogeneic CAR T cells targeting the CD70 antigen. CD70 is expressed in both hematologic malignancies and solid cancers, including renal cell carcinoma (RCC). The company selected TD2 as its preclinical partner to conduct these important trials. 

“CRISPR Therapeutics’ novel approach to targeting solid cancers is leading to game-changing results in this emerging and transformative area of oncology research,” said Paul Gonzales, vice president of nonclinical operations for TD2. “We’re honored to carry out studies to support the technology developed at CRISPR Therapeutics and look forward to advancing CAR T therapies for patients with cancer.”

Ongoing Trends in CAR T Cell Research

The research reflects continued interest in adoptive T cell transfer (ACT) to mediate antitumor effects in otherwise treatment-refractory cancers. Three forms of ACT are being developed for cancer therapy: tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), T cell receptor (TCR) T cells and CAR T cells. CAR T cells were recently named “Advance of the Year” by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in its 2018 annual report.

“This is an area that has been celebrated as a breakthrough technology and while it comes with significant benefits to patients, it is not without equally significant challenges,” said Stephen Gately, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of TD2. “We see this as an area of high interest over the coming years as companies continue to innovate to overcome these challenges and improve patient outcomes. As a CRO committed to our clients’ goals, we’re excited to explore and make available new model systems and techniques that contemplate clinically relevant scenarios and combination therapies that will reduce toxicities and make responses seen in patients more durable.” 

TD2 will continue preclinical work with CRISPR Therapeutics to extend these findings involving the CD70 antigen to other cancers. 

About Translational Drug Development (TD2)

TD2 is an oncology development organization that provides innovative services for oncology-focused companies. Using a dedicated team of professionals with broad experience and understanding in drug development, TD2 is uniquely positioned to support improved and accelerated development of medicines for life-threatening oncology diseases. TD2 applies rigorous and high-throughput translational preclinical development, combined with regulatory affairs expertise, to customize clinical trial design and execution. TD2’s suite of capabilities encourages the timely selection of patient populations who are most likely to benefit from a new agent, the rapid identification of clinically significant endpoints and the application of this approach even in the earliest stages of preclinical development. TD2 is committed to reducing the risks and uncertainty inherent in the drug development process and to the acceleration of patient access to promising treatments. For more information, visit www.TD2inc.com.

About CRISPR Therapeutics

CRISPR Therapeutics is a leading gene editing company focused on developing transformative gene-based medicines for serious diseases using its proprietary CRISPR/Cas9 platform. CRISPR/Cas9 is a revolutionary gene editing technology that allows for precise, directed changes to genomic DNA. The Company has established a portfolio of therapeutic programs across a broad range of disease areas including hemoglobinopathies, oncology and rare diseases. To accelerate and expand its efforts, CRISPR Therapeutics has established strategic collaborations with leading companies including Bayer AG and Vertex Pharmaceuticals. CRISPR Therapeutics AG is headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, with its wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary, CRISPR Therapeutics, Inc., and R&D operations based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and business offices in London, United Kingdom. For more information, please visit www.crisprtx.com.