SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Juno Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: JUNO), a biopharmaceutical company developing innovative cellular immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer, today announced three license agreements to advance its program in multiple myeloma using gamma secretase inhibitors (GSIs) in combination with BCMA-directed CAR T cells.
Gamma secretase is an enzyme that cleaves a set of transmembrane proteins, including BCMA. Multiple publications have shown that treatment with GSIs can increase surface expression of BCMA on tumors, particularly multiple myeloma. Increased cell surface BCMA may increase potency of a BCMA-directed CAR T therapy1.
“BCMA appears to be an important target for treating patients with multiple myeloma and Juno is dedicated to investigating novel approaches to maximize efficacy for these patients. These licenses open up an important approach to improve the activity and outcomes for CAR T cells targeted at BCMA,” said Sunil Agarwal, M.D., Juno’s President of Research and Development. “We plan to begin clinical trials in 2018 combining a gamma secretase inhibitor with our BCMA CAR T product candidates.”
Through its agreement with Eli Lilly and Company, Juno will acquire a license to the GSI known as LY3039478, a product candidate that has been studied in 411 patients and healthy volunteers. Through its agreements with OncoTracker and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Juno will gain exclusive rights to intellectual property within the field of combinations of GSIs and BCMA-directed engineered T cells.
No other terms from these three transactions were disclosed.
1Pont M. “Gamma secretase inhibition increases recognition of multiple myeloma by BCMA-specific chimeric antigen receptor modified T cells.” Presented at Annual Meeting of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC). November 8-12, 2017. National Harbor, MD.
Juno Therapeutics is building a fully integrated biopharmaceutical company focused on developing innovative cellular immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer. Founded on the vision that the use of human cells as therapeutic entities will drive one of the next important phases in medicine, Juno is developing cell-based cancer immunotherapies based on chimeric antigen receptor and high-affinity T cell receptor technologies to genetically engineer T cells to recognize and kill cancer. Juno is developing multiple cell-based product candidates to treat a variety of B-cell malignancies as well as multiple solid tumors and multiple myeloma. Several product candidates have shown compelling clinical responses in clinical trials in refractory leukemia and lymphoma conducted to date. Juno’s long-term aim is to leverage its cell-based platform to develop new product candidates that address a broader range of cancers and human diseases. Juno brings together innovative technologies from some of the world’s leading research institutions, including the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Seattle Children’s Research Institute (SCRI), the University of California, San Francisco, and The National Cancer Institute. Juno Therapeutics has an exclusive license to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital patented technology for CD19-directed product candidates that use 4-1BB, which was developed by Dario Campana, Chihaya Imai, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Juno’s product candidate JCAR017 was developed in collaboration with SCRI and others.
About Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, home to three Nobel laureates, interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists seek new and innovative ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases. Fred Hutch’s pioneering work in bone marrow transplantation led to the development of immunotherapy, which harnesses the power of the immune system to treat cancer. An independent, nonprofit research institute based in Seattle, Fred Hutch houses the nation’s first and largest cancer prevention research program, as well as the clinical coordinating center of the Women’s Health Initiative and the international headquarters of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network. For more information visit www.fredhutch.org or follow Fred Hutch on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.
OncoTracker, Inc. (“OncoTracker”) is a Los Angeles-based medical diagnostics company, with exclusive rights to the recent and patented discovery of a novel blood biomarker that monitors the tumor burden of patients with multiple myeloma, CLL, B cell lymphoma and potentially other cancers. In addition, OncoTracker has a broad array of technology, intellectual property and products related to therapeutics, monitoring clinical trials, predicting success of various therapies and real-time monitoring effectiveness of therapies including multiple myeloma, other liquid and solid tumors.
Juno’s Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, including statements regarding Juno’s mission, progress, and business plans; the therapeutic potential of combining JCARH125, or other engineered T cells, with GSIs; and Juno’s planned clinical trials. Forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from such forward-looking statements, and reported results should not be considered as an indication of future performance. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, risks associated with: the success, cost, and timing of Juno’s product development activities and clinical trials; Juno’s ability to obtain regulatory approval for and to commercialize its product candidates; Juno’s ability to establish a commercially-viable manufacturing process and manufacturing infrastructure; regulatory requirements and regulatory developments; success of Juno’s competitors with respect to competing treatments and technologies; Juno’s dependence on third-party collaborators and other contractors in Juno’s research and development activities, including for the conduct of clinical trials and the manufacture of Juno’s product candidates; Juno’s ability to attract and retain key scientific, quality control/assurance, manufacturing or management personnel; Juno’s dependence on Celgene for the development and commercialization outside of North America and China of Juno’s CD19 product candidates and any other product candidates for which Celgene exercises an option; Juno’s dependence on JW Therapeutics (Shanghai) Co., Ltd and its affiliates for the development and commercialization of product candidates in China; Juno’s ability to obtain, maintain, or protect intellectual property rights related to its product candidates; amongst others. For a further description of the risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from those expressed in these forward-looking statements, as well as risks relating to Juno’s business in general, see Juno’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on November 1, 2017 and Juno’s other periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof. Juno disclaims any obligation to update these forward-looking statements.
The “About Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center” and “About OncoTracker” sections of this press release were provided by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and OncoTracker, respectively. Juno disclaims all responsibility for the accuracy of the content of those sections and the websites or other Internet content referenced therein.