MabVax Therapeutic Holdings said today it will partner with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) to develop novel chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapeutics using antibody-targeting sequences derived from MabVax's fully human antibodies for pancreatic, small-cell lung, and other solid tumor cancers.

The partners have signed a sponsored research agreement whose value was not disclosed.

MabVax said it agreed to fund an evaluation of efficacy for multiple CAR T-cell products incorporating several different antibody-targeting sequences. The research program will evaluate targeting sequences from MabVax’s leading monoclonal antibody clinical development candidate HuMab-5B1 in xenograft models of pancreatic and small-cell lung cancer.

According to MabVax, “multiple” CAR T-cell constructs have been created and tested in cell-based assays where they have demonstrated utility, and thus warrant continued testing in animal models of pancreatic cancer and other CA19-9–expressing tumors.

“We believe that the human targeting sequences derived from our antibody program have demonstrated remarkable specificity for antigens that are overexpressed on difficult-to-treat cancers,” MabVax CEO J. David Hansen said in a statement. “Incorporating those discoveries into promising CAR T-cell technology developed at MSK holds real promise for patients suffering from solid tumor cancers. We look forward to working with MSK to evaluate these novel CAR T-cell products.”

MabVax added that it has provided to MSK a second set of novel antibody-targeting sequences from its clinical and research programs for development into new CAR T-cell constructs designed to treat solid tumors.

MSK has agreed to evaluate the new CAR T-cell constructs and test in both in vitro and in animal models of solid tumors with a goal of completing IND-enabling preclinical studies. That work will be conducted in the laboratory of Michel Sadelain, M.D., Ph.D., director of MSK’s Center for Cell Engineering and Gene Transfer and Gene Expression.

MabVax will retain rights to the CAR T-cell products to be developed during the collaboration, including an exclusive time-limited option to license MSK's rights to such inventions.

“Importantly, this collaboration will bring us another step forward as we aim to further understand the depth, breadth, and utility of our pipeline,” Hansen added,

San Diego-based MabVax focuses on developing antibody-based cancer treatments designed to address unmet medical needs. MabVax has two Phase I candidates. One is MVT-5873, which is being evaluated as a single agent and in combination with a standard-of-care chemotherapy in a dose escalation safety trial in pancreatic cancer and other CA19-9–expressing cancers. The other is MVT-2163, a positron emission tomography (PET) imaging agent also being evaluated as a novel diagnostic agent in pancreatic cancer.

A third product, the novel radioimmunotherapy MVT-1075, will be assessed in a Phase I study for which MabVax recently received FDA authorization. The Company anticipates that patient enrollment for the study will begin in the second quarter.

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