Genesis Biopharma is tapping into Lonza’s manufacturing expertise for Contego, an autologous cell therapy for stage IV metastatic melanoma. Lonza will conduct process development and scale-up activities.
Genesis announced that it would expand beyond antibody-based cancer therapeutics into cell therapy in June. Contego contains tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) obtained from a patient's metastatic melanoma tumors. TILs are isolated from the resected tumor and expanded in vitro to several hundred million cells.
The expanded TILs are then infused into the patient, where they subsequently attack melanoma tumors throughout the body. Contego is based on a TIL adoptive cell therapy being used at the NCI, MD Anderson Cancer Center, and the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer & Research Institute.
Before it entered cell therapy development, Genesis was focused on developing a targeted anti-CD55 cancer therapeutic called VG102. Its parent antibody has been used extensively in humans as a cancer radioimaging agent, Genesis says.
It has reportedly been shown to be safe and highly-selective in identifying various tumors, with little or no detection of normal or benign tissues. The parent antibody also recognized metastases indicating potential for use in late-stage disease. VG102 is being developed as a monotherapy for colorectal cancer and as a combination therapy with rituximab for lymphoma.