June 25, 2021
June 25, 2021
SINGAPORE – June 25, 2021 – Lion TCR and Duke-NUS Medical School have signed an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement for a patent covering a novel TCR-T technology.
This technology was developed by Professor Antonio Bertoletti and his colleagues Anthony Tan and Morteza Hefezi from Duke-NUS’ Emerging Infectious Diseases Programme where they have engineered armoured immune cells that can target recurring cancer cells in liver transplant patients, while temporarily evading the inhibitory effect from immunosuppressant drugs that patients take to avoid organ rejection.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) accounts for 90% of liver cancer, an aggressive cancer ranked third for causes of cancer deaths in 2020. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is the major etiologic agent for HCC development, accounting for at least 80% HCC cases in Asia.
A common curative option for HCC is for patients to undergo a liver transplant. However, HBV-related tumor recurrence can still affect these patients post liver transplant. To kill the cancer, doctors can inject T cells, which are specially designed to target hepatitis B material found in the cancer cells. However, liver transplant patients must take drugs that suppress their immune systems to prevent their bodies from attacking the transplants. This significantly hinders the effectiveness of T-cell therapy.
To overcome this limitation, Professor Antonio Bertoletti and his team further modified the T cells to disrupt the functions of the enzymes involved in the metabolism of immunosuppressant drugs needed by the drugs to suppress immune cells. Based on findings published in Hepatology (M Hafezi et al, Immunosuppressive Drug Resistant Armored TCR T cells for immune-therapy of HCC in liver transplant patients, Hepatology, 2020), these ‘immunosuppressive drug resistant armoured HBV- T cell receptor’ (IDRA HBV-TCR) T cells displayed “superior killing” capability of HCC cells for up to four days.
By combining this novel IDRA-gene editing technology with Lion TCR’s propriety library of TCRs, Lion TCR aims to further enhance its use for TCR-therapy against other cancers. By combining IDRA technology with different TCRs, these modified T cells can also be used to treat other common pathologies associated with immunosuppressant treatment, such as the reactivation of Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) or cytomegalovirus (CMV) in patients receiving immunosuppressants after stem cell or organ transplantation.
Dr Peng Xiaoming, CEO of Lion TCR, said “This new technology can potentially unleash a wide range of applications of new TCR-T cell products for Lion TCR. We are very excited with this addition to our product development pipeline and eventually to bring them forward for patient care!”
Mr David Wang, Director of Centre for Technology and Development at Duke-NUS, added, “This collaboration between Duke-NUS and Lion TCR will enable new T cell therapies to be used in patients who might otherwise not have access to this exciting new cancer treatment because of their concurrent need for immunosuppressive drugs."
Scientific Founder, Prof Antonio Bertoletti Appointed as Cellular Immunotherapy Infectious Diseases Lead for Singhealth Duke-NUS Cell Therapy Centre
Lion TCR Licenses and Duke-NUS Medical School ink an exclusive IP licensing agreement for Immunosuppressive Drug Resistant Anti-Cancer T-cells
Dr Wai Lu-En, Director of R&D, represented Lion TCR to share the latest developments to the Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Trade and Industry Tan See Leng.
Scientific Founder, Prof Antonio Bertoletti Appointed in Cell and Gene Therapy Workgroup in Singapore
Lion TCR Announces Data Presentation for its lead T-cell product, LioCyx-M at EASL Digital Liver Cancer Summit 2021
HSA approval for Phase 1 IND clinical trial for Lion TCR’s lead product LioCyx-M to characterize changes in liver cancer tumor microenvironment
Lion TCR presents two abstracts of Phase 1 clinical trial data for lead product LioCyx-M at the 2020 Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) Annual Meeting
Companion diagnostic assay for personalised immunotherapy for HBV-related liver cancer featured in A*STAR GIS website
Singapore’s first clinical trial approval for T cell engineered (TCR) immunotherapy for treatment of Liver cancer
Lion TCR receives US$ 20 million to fund its personalized T cell therapy clinical trials against Liver cancer
Scientific Founder, Prof. Antonio Bertoletti and Scientific Consultant, Dr Anthony Tanoto Tan of Lion TCR were awarded the SingHealth Duke-NUS Research Award 1st Prize 2018
US FDA grants Lion TCR two orphan drug designations of T cell therapy against Hepatocellular Carcinoma
New publication – Immunotherapy of HCC metastases with autologous T cell receptor redirected T cells, targeting HBsAg in a liver transplant patient