Tiziana Life Sciences PLC (LON:TLSA) (NASDAQ:TILS) has submitted a patent application that could help unlock the true potential of a promising form of cancer immunotherapy.
It wants to use Foralumab, its fully human anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody, to improve the success of CAR-T therapy.
CAR-T uses T cells from the patient’s own immune system to tackle the disease. Simply put, they are genetically engineered and “supercharged” to hunt down and destroy cancer cells.
The major problem with the approach is relapse rates are high, limiting the scope of its use.
Tiziana chief executive Dr Kunwar Shailubhai and his team believe an improved CAR-T therapy can be achieved through using anti-CD3 monoclonal antibodies such as Foralumab on its own or with other “co-stimulatory molecules”.
“Being a fully human anti-CD3 mAb, Foralumab is most suitable for CAR-T therapy as it does not produce an immune response unlike other humanised anti-CD3 mAbs,” explained Shailubhai in a statement.
Nkarta IPO reveals interest in CAR-T
Despite its limitations, CAR-T is a hot area at the moment, underlined by the explosive NASDAQ IPO of Nkarta Inc (NASDAQ:NKTX).
Listed at US$18 a share, stock in the Bay area-based biotech raced to US$$58.69 on the first day of trading earlier this week, valuing the business at just shy of US$1.8bn.
The listing brought in almost US$290mln in new funding for a business that currently has no drug in the clinic. Investors include RA Capital, New Enterprise Associates, Novo and GlaxoSmithKline.
Foralumab, meanwhile, is currently being developed for Crohn’s Disease and progressive multiple sclerosis.
The company is far from a one-trick pony, though Foralumab is fast emerging as the jewel in the crown for the group, which has clinical and pre-clinical assets spanning cancers, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.
It is “aggressively advancing” a potential treatment for coronavirus (COVID-19) alongside a breakthrough method of delivering the inhaled version of this and other similar drugs.
And it is planning to spin out its diagnostics business StemPrintER.
“In our view, StemPrintER could begin trading as a separate entity well before the end of this year,” said HC Wainwright’s Raghuram Selvaraju in a recent note repeating his ‘buy’ recommendation and US$25 a share price target.
In the US, the stock closed at US$8.63.
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