Carina Biotech and CellVec advances clinical trials, making strides for colorectal cancer treatment

10 November 2021 | Wednesday | News

New hope for bowel cancer patients as fresh partnership between Carina Biotech and CellVec enables advancement of clinical trials.
Image Source : Public Domain

Image Source : Public Domain

Singapore-based viral vector CDMO supplies lentiviruses to Carina Biotech, advancing first in-human  clinical trial for bowel cancer treatment 

Singapore-based viral vector CDMO CellVec announces today that it has been selected as the manufacturer of choice for Australian cell therapy immuno-oncology company Carina  Biotech, undertaking the production of GMP-compliant lentivirus constructs for its LGR5 CAR-T. The  partnership is slated to advance clinical trials for a treatment designed for patients with advanced  colorectal (bowel) cancer.  

CellVec is a certified GMP gene therapy contract development and manufacturing organisation that  provides an advanced lentiviral vector platform to upscale production of viral vectors and develop novel  gene transfer technologies to advance therapies to clinical application. Its strategic offering of bespoke  manufacturing services will enable the clinical grade lentivirus to be produced under GMP standards while  using Carina’s proprietary manufacturing process, progressing the production of LGR5 CAR-T cells for a  first in-human clinical trial in H2 2022.  

The partnership with Carina Biotech marks a significant milestone for us to facilitate the furtherance of  gene therapies. It attests to our capabilities to effectively scale bespoke viral vector manufacturing  processes, enabling the advancement of different clinical therapies from bench to bedside that will benefit  more patients across the world. We look forward to supporting Carina in the successful development of  its LGR5 CAR-T cells,” said Dr Ang Peng Tiam, Chairman of CellVec and Medical Director of Parkway Cancer  Centre, the largest private oncology service provider in the region. 

“We are delighted to be working with CellVec because of their outstanding track record and expertise,”  said Professor Simon Barry, VP of CAR-T Manufacturing Research and Development and the co-inventor  of Carina’s lead CAR-T cell. “Their flexibility and willingness to incorporate Carina’s proprietary  manufacturing process was an important consideration in the selection of CellVec as our service provider.” 

Leveraging its advanced CellVec Vector Platform, CellVec’s efficacious manufacturing processes will scale  the production of high-titre, high yield lentivirus constructs in an accelerated timeline (6 to 8 months) for  the project. The LGR5 CAR-T cell targets the LGR5 cancer stem cell marker that is highly expressed on  advanced colorectal cancer and some other cancers, resulting in durable tumour suppression and the  prevention of relapses commonly seen in patients with colorectal cancer. 

“We are continuing to see fantastic results with our LGR5 CAR-T cell in pre-clinical testing. Colorectal  cancer is Australia’s second deadliest cancer and its incidence is rising in people under the age of 50 – with many of these people being diagnosed with advanced disease and a very poor prognosis,” said Dr  Deborah Rathjen, CEO of Carina Biotech. 

“After our recent successful capital raise and welcoming new impact investors to our company, we are  on track for a pre-IND submission in Q2 of 2022 and an IND submission to the FDA in the second half of  2022 and the initiation of a Phase I/II clinical trial in patients with advanced colorectal cancer.”

Commenting on the potential of the partnership, Dr Gayatri Sharma, Chief Commercial Officer of CellVec  said, “Carina’s work in LGR5 CAR-T therapy aligns strongly with our mission of innovating for patient  benefit. Our manufacture of the required lentivirus constructs will accelerate the clinical application and  adoption of the therapy, bringing it to more patients around the world and ultimately reduce the  incidence and mortality of colorectal cancer. We are pleased to be part of this journey with Carina and are extremely excited for what this will bring to the colorectal cancer community.” 

CellVec boasts a GMP-certified pharmaceutical quality system (PQS) and facility, awarded by the Health  Sciences Authority of Singapore under current PIC/S guidance annexes for medicinal products. These are  designed in alignment with US FDA, EU GMP and TGA (Australia) regulations and industry expectations.  With a strategic location in Singapore, the region’s biotech hub, CellVec is able to facilitate on-time  delivery of quality viral vectors across the world, including to the US and the UK. 

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