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GEN News Highlights : Dec 12, 2006

City of Hope Licenses Sangamo’s ZFN Technology to Hasten Cancer Treatment

Chimeric immunoreceptors will be engineered into human immune cells to generate a population of cells that can recognize and destroy cancer cells.

City of Hope (COH) and Sangamo BioSciences entered into an exclusive, worldwide license agreement for intellectual property related to a chimeric immunoreceptor useful in treating human cancers. Sangamo and COH also entered into a research collaboration to develop a cell therapy combining this technology with Sangamo's zinc finger DNA-binding protein nuclease (ZFN™) technology for treatment of glioblastoma multiforme.

Sangamo scientists are collaborating with Michael C.V. Jensen, M.D., associate chair, division of cancer immunotherapeutics and tumor immunology, City of Hope, who developed chimeric immunoreceptors called zetakines that can be engineered into human immune cells to generate a population of cells that can specifically recognize and destroy cancer cells.

Dr. Jensen is already using these engineered cells in clinical trials for malignant gliomas and lymphoma. The aim of the current collaboration is to use Sangamo's ZFN gene modification technology to enable deletion of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR), a gene that limits the benefit of this therapy. Glucocorticoids are widely used in glioma patients. With the specific deletion of GR in the zetakine, antiglioma T-cells will allow this immune therapy to be used in the presence of glucocorticoids.

Under the terms of the license agreement, Sangamo will pay COH an upfront license fee and annual maintenance fees.  COH is also eligible for payments relating to clinical milestones, royalties, and a portion of any revenue that Sangamo may realize from sublicensing agreements. The license granted to Sangamo is exclusive for the treatment or prevention of disease in humans using a combination of the zetakine and disruption of the expression or function of an endogenous gene.