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Cell Medica and Baylor College of Medicine partner to create next generation cellular immunotherapy products for cancer treatment

Cell Medica and Baylor College of Medicine partner to create next generation cellular immunotherapy products for cancer treatment


Imperial Innovations Group plc (AIM: IVO or ‘the Group’, ‘Innovations’) notes today’s announcement by portfolio company Cell Medica (the ‘Company’) of an exclusive licensing agreement and a co-development partnership with the Baylor College of Medicine (Baylor) to create next generation cellular immunotherapy products for the treatment of cancer.

Cell Medica is a cellular immunotherapy company, focused on the development, manufacture and marketing of cell-based therapeutics for the treatment of cancers and infectious disease. As at 31 January 2016, the Group had a 27.0% interest in the issued share capital of the Company with such interest having a net fair value of £21.0 million.

Baylor’s Centre for Cell and Gene Therapy (CAGT) has more than 20 years of experience working with genetically modified immune cells for the treatment of cancer. It has conducted more than 40 clinical studies investigating cellular immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer. 

This new collaboration is expected to generate a significant number of new products for Cell Medica’s cellular immunotherapy pipeline. It provides the Company with an exclusive license over several Baylor cell and gene technologies and an option to license new products introduced into the co-development partnership by Baylor’s leading research teams in the field of genetically engineered immune cells.

The collaboration will build upon the recent clinical success of advanced chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) to enable human immune cells to recognise and kill cancer cells expressing tumour associated antigens.

Five product programs have been defined for the initial development plan focused on the application of CAR technology to natural killer T (NKT) cells as a novel immune cell type with biological properties that may be particularly effective for targeting solid tumours. NKT cells are known to infiltrate tissues where solid tumours arise and kill both malignant cells and cancer-enabling cells such as the tumour associated macrophages. The development plan also includes a genetically engineered T cell receptor (TCR) for use in NKT cells and T cells.

Cell Medica has paid an up-front fee for the exclusive licensing arrangements and will make additional payments to exercise its exclusive option to licence future products. Baylor is eligible to receive further payments related to late stage clinical, regulatory approval and sales milestones, as well as single digit royalties for the successful development of specific products. The financial terms have not been disclosed.

Gregg Sando, CEO of Cell Medica, said:

“This collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine will place Cell Medica at the forefront of new product concepts for CAR-modified immune cells.

“Baylor’s leading research capability in this field should add significantly to our pipeline of high value products targeting cancer types that do not respond to conventional treatments.”

Russ Cummings, CEO at Imperial Innovations, added:

This new agreement accelerates Cell Medica’s ambitious growth plans and significantly broadens its cellular immunotherapy pipeline and US footprint. It is an important step forward in its strategy to become a world-leader in cell therapy, leveraging its scientific and manufacturing base.

“To date Cell Medica has raised more than £72m. With the on-going support of a strong group of investors, the business is ideally positioned to capitalise on the market opportunity for next-generation products which harness the human immune response to fight cancer.”

About Imperial Innovations -

Imperial Innovations Group plc (“Innovations”) creates, builds and invests in pioneering technology companies and licensing opportunities developed from outstanding scientific research from the 'Golden Triangle', the geographical region broadly bounded by London, Cambridge and Oxford. This area has an unrivalled cluster of outstanding academic research and technology businesses, and is home to four of the world’s top 10 universities, as well as leading research institutions, the cream of the UK’s science and technology businesses and many of its leading investors.

Innovations supports scientists and entrepreneurs in the commercialisation of their ideas, through the licensing of intellectual property, by leading the formation of new companies, by recruiting high-calibre management teams and by providing investment and encouraging co-investment. Innovations remains an active investor over the life of its portfolio companies, with the majority of Innovations’ investment going into businesses in which it is already a shareholder.

Since becoming a public company in 2006, Innovations has raised more than £440 million of equity from investors, which has enabled it to invest in some of the most exciting spin-outs to come out of UK academic research. In addition, the Group has agreed £80.0 million in loan facilities from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Between Innovations’ admission to AIM (August 2006) and 31 July 2015, Innovations had invested a total of £236.8 million across its portfolio companies, which had raised collectively investment of £1.3 billion.

About Cell Medica -

Cell Medica is a cellular therapeutics company engaged in the development, manufacturing and marketing of cellular immunotherapy products for the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases. Cellular immunotherapy is a novel form of medical treatment which has the potential to transform the treatment of cancer in the years ahead. The Company has recently opened a ground-breaking international CITADEL Phase 2 clinical trial exploring the therapeutic benefit of a novel cancer immunotherapy product for the treatment of advanced NK/T cell lymphoma associated with the oncogenic Epstein Barr virus (EBV). The Company is targeting a range of cancer applications associated with EBV including lymphoma, leukemia and nasopharyngeal carcinoma. In the infectious disease field, Cell Medica is developing Cytovir CMV for the treatment of cytomegalovirus infections and Cytovir ADV for the treatment of adenovirus infections. Both applications are aimed at treating and preventing infections in patients who are profoundly immunosuppressed following a bone marrow transplant.

About Baylor College of Medicine -

Baylor College of Medicine in Houston is recognized as a premier academic health sciences centre and is known for excellence in education, research and patient care. It is the only private medical school in the greater southwest and is ranked 20th among medical schools for research and 9th for primary care by U.S. News & World Report. Baylor is listed 20th among all U.S. medical schools for National Institutes of Health funding and number one in Texas. Located in the Texas Medical Centre, Baylor has affiliations with seven teaching hospitals and jointly owns and operates Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Centre, part of CHI St. Luke’s Health. Currently, Baylor trains more than 3,000 medical, graduate, nurse anaesthesia, physician assistant and orthotics students, as well as residents and post-doctoral fellows.

Issued for and on behalf of Imperial Innovations by Instinctif Partners.
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