immatics biotechnologies and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center said today they have launched the German cancer immunotherapy developer’s U.S. subsidiary, with about $60 million in financing and a goal of developing multiple adoptive cellular therapies (ACTs) to treat cancer.

Two-thirds of the financing or $40 million has been committed to immatics US by the parent company, the partners said. The remainder consists of a $19.7 million grant awarded in February to the company by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) toward development of cellular immunotherapies against targets discovered by immatics.

The subsidiary declared that it aims to become a global leader in ACT treatments for multiple tumor types. immatics US plans to develop both autologous and allogenic ACT approaches by drawing upon its parent company’s cancer target and T-cell receptor discovery capabilities, as well as MD Anderson's clinical oncology and cell therapy expertise.

The parent company’s capabilities include its XPRESIDENT® platform, designed for discovery and further qualification of targets for a range of cancer immunotherapy applications including ACT.

immatics biotechnologies also has access to technologies developed or in-licensed by MD Anderson—including the cytokine IL-21 for expansion of T cells, a gamma-delta T-cell platform for allogeneic cell therapy approaches, and various technologies designed to optimize the development of ACT.

immatics US said it will strive to develop three different ACT approaches to treat unspecified “tumors with high unmet medical needs,” the first of which will begin clinical trials next year. The three approaches are:

  • ACTolog™, which involves selecting, enriching and the ex vivo expansion of a patient's endogenous T cells by specifically recognizing immatics' XPRESIDENT targets.
  • ACTengine™, which involves genetically engineering a patient's own T cells to express new T-cell receptors which are specific to XPRESIDENT targets.
  • ACTallo™, an allogenic approach that will use off-the-shelf T cells that have been engineered to express novel T-cell receptors.

Yesterday, immatics said the new subsidiary will partner with MorphoSys to develop new antibody-based immuno-oncology treatments to fight multiple cancer antigens recognized by T-cells.

“immatics has been working for the last 15 years to gain a broad and in-depth understanding of the immunopeptidome of tumor and normal tissue cells,” Harpreet Singh, CEO of immatics US, said in a statement. “Based on this unique expertise we have discovered dozens of novel immunotherapy targets that will be central to the success of immatics US.”

Rounding out immatics US' management team are CSO Steffen Walter, CTO Toni Weinschenk, and CMO Carsten Reinhardt.

immatics US said it aims to build upon the ACT research of two MD Anderson investigators, Patrick Hwu, M.D., division head of cancer medicine, and Cassian Yee, M.D., professor of medical melanoma oncology. Both will continue to provide “ongoing practical support and guidance,” the subsidiary said.

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