Atara Biotherapeutics Expands T-Cell Immunotherapy Collaboration to Advance Next-Generation CAR T Technologies in Oncology, Autoimmune and Other Diseases
Entry into genetically engineered T-cells marks next step in Atara’s strategy to advance leadership position in off-the-shelf, allogeneic T-cell immunotherapy
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., May 08, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Atara Biotherapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq:ATRA), a leading off-the-shelf, allogeneic T-cell immunotherapy company developing novel treatments for patients with cancer, autoimmune and viral diseases, today announced the Company has expanded its collaboration with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) to develop the next generation of genetically engineered chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR T) immunotherapies. This agreement is the next step in Atara’s strategy to leverage the potential of the Company’s technology platform to develop genetically modified off-the-shelf, allogeneic T-cell immunotherapies to transform the lives of patients with serious medical conditions.
Under the agreement, Atara will gain access to several of MSK’s innovative enabling technologies, including a novel CAR T construct that Atara believes has physiologic T-cell activation properties, as well as methods for designing CAR T immunotherapies. Atara is also entering into an exclusive research collaboration for multiple targets with Michel Sadelain, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Center for Cell Engineering at MSK, to employ next-generation technologies in developing novel CAR T immunotherapies with applications in oncology, autoimmune and infectious diseases.
Dr. Sadelain stated, “We are eager to work with Atara to continue advancing promising allogeneic T-cell immunotherapy technologies that originated at MSK. The new CAR T technologies seek to overcome persistent therapeutic challenges, such as safety and tolerability, durability of treatment response, and activity in areas of significant unmet medical need that are underserved by the current generation of CAR T immunotherapies.”
“Our earlier MSK collaboration has been highly productive, highlighted by tab-cel™, Atara’s off-the-shelf, allogeneic T-cell immunotherapy currently in Phase 3 development,” said Isaac Ciechanover, M.D., Chief Executive Officer and President of Atara Biotherapeutics. “The deepening of our collaboration with MSK allows us to rapidly advance novel gene-edited CAR T development programs leveraging our existing off-the-shelf T-cell immunotherapy technology platform, manufacturing expertise and research and development capabilities. Going forward, we plan to continue to assemble complementary genetic engineering technologies to grow our pipeline and realize the full potential of our platform.”
About Atara Biotherapeutics, Inc.
Atara Biotherapeutics, Inc. (@Atarabio) is a leading T-cell immunotherapy company developing novel treatments for patients with cancer, autoimmune and viral diseases. The Company's off-the-shelf, allogeneic T-cells are bioengineered from donors with healthy immune function and allow for rapid delivery from inventory to patients without a requirement for pretreatment. Atara's T-cell immunotherapies are designed to precisely recognize and eliminate cancerous or diseased cells without affecting normal, healthy cells. Atara's most advanced T-cell immunotherapy in development, tabelecleucel, or tab-cel™ (formerly known as ATA129), is being developed for the treatment of patients with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) associated post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (EBV+ PTLD) who have failed rituximab, as well as other EBV associated hematologic and solid tumors, including nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). Tab-cel™ is in Phase 3 clinical development for the treatment of EBV+ PTLD following an allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant (MATCH study) or solid organ transplant (ALLELE study). Atara is also developing off-the-shelf, allogenic ATA188 and autologous ATA190 T-cell immunotherapies using a complementary targeted antigen recognition technology for specific EBV antigens believed to be important for the potential treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS). A Phase 1 clinical study of autologous ATA190 in patients with progressive MS is ongoing. Atara also initiated a multinational Phase 1 ATA188 clinical study in patients with progressive or relapsing-remitting MS in Australia in the fourth quarter of 2017 and in the U.S. in March 2018. Atara's clinical pipeline also includes ATA520 targeting Wilms Tumor 1 (WT1) and ATA230 directed against cytomegalovirus (CMV).
This press release contains or may imply "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. For example, forward-looking statements include statements regarding: Atara’s and MSK’s expanded collaboration to develop the next generation of genetically engineered CAR T immunotherapies, the potential of Atara’s technology platform, the timing, enrollment and results of the Company’s clinical trials and the potential advantages of its product candidates. Because such statements deal with future events and are based on Atara’s current expectations, they are subject to various risks and uncertainties and actual results, performance or achievements of Atara could differ materially from those described in or implied by the statements in this press release. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, including those discussed under the heading "Risk Factors" in Atara Biotherapeutics' annual report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on February 27, 2018, including the documents incorporated by reference therein, and subsequent filings with the SEC. Except as otherwise required by law, Atara disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof, whether as a result of new information, future events or circumstances or otherwise.
INVESTOR & MEDIA CONTACTS:
John Craighead, Atara Biotherapeutics
Steve Klass, Burns McClellan
Justin Jackson, Burns McClellan
Released May 8, 2018