“We are pleased to welcome the Empirica team to the Century family. Their deep expertise and unique capabilities will allow us to accelerate efforts to develop iPSC derived immune effector cell products designed to treat and potentially cure brain cancer,” said Lalo Flores, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of Century Therapeutics. “GBM is a particularly aggressive, often treatment-resistant form of adult brain cancer with an average survival time of under two years. Together, we are in a stronger position to develop potentially curative cell therapies for this devastating disease.”
Empirica Therapeutics was founded by Dr. Sheila Singh, MD, PhD, Professor of Surgery and Biochemistry and chief pediatric neurosurgeon at McMaster Children’s Hospital, and Dr. Jason Moffat, PhD, Professor of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto and an expert in functional genomics and gene-editing platforms. The company’s science is based on a powerful integrative multi-omics platform, combined with its unique patient-derived, therapy-adapted models of recurrent GBM, that has led to the discovery and validation of novel brain tumor targets. Empirica’s cutting edge preclinical models of recurrent GBM, have demonstrated the potential of CAR-T cell therapy in GBM, as published in a May 2020 Cell Stem Cell paper.
“Our team is excited to become part of Century Therapeutics, whose iPSC-derived allogeneic cell therapies show immense potential for treating solid as well as hematologic malignancies,” said Dr. Singh. Dr. Singh served as Empirica’s CEO after co-founding the company with Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Moffat. “We look forward to combining our unique patient-based cancer models with Century’s platform to create promising treatments for the patients who need them most,” Singh said.
Janelle Anderson, PhD, Chief Strategy Officer at Century Therapeutics, shepherded the deal forming the subsidiary, which will be known as Century Therapeutics Canada and based in Hamilton, Ontario. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
About Century Therapeutics
Century Therapeutics is harnessing the power of stem cells to develop curative cell therapy products for cancer that overcome the limitations of first-generation cell therapies. Our genetically engineered, universal iPSC-derived immune effector cell products (iNK, iT) are designed to specifically target hematologic and solid tumor cancers. Our commitment to developing off-the-shelf cell therapies will expand patient access and provides an unparalleled opportunity to advance the course of cancer care. Century was launched in 2019 by founding investor Versant Ventures in partnership with Fujifilm and Leaps by Bayer. For more information, please visit www.centurytx.com.
About Glioblastoma (GBM)
Glioblastoma (GBM) is one of the most common types of primary brain tumor in adults and is almost uniformly lethal, with less than 5% of patients living beyond five years. GBM has an incidence rate of 3 per 100,000 people annually in the United States of America. The standard of care for GBM consists of tumor resection following by chemotherapy and radiation. Despite aggressive multimodal treatment, almost all patients experience relapse 7-9 months post-diagnosis and median survival has not extended beyond 16-20 months over the past decade. Recent studies suggest that the primary GBM tumor evolves significantly during the course of therapy and presents itself as a much more aggressive tumor at the time of recurrence. The treatment-resistant nature of GBM to standard therapies provides compelling motivation for developing novel treatment approaches.