MaxCyte has agreed to collaborate with Washington University in St. Louis, which is involved in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) research, to develop immunotherapy drug candidates based on MaxCyte’s proprietary cell-engineering platform technology, CARMA.

The method allows for the production of  cancer treatments that utilize a patient’s own immune system and is differentiated from traditional chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) therapy due to its use of messenger RNA (mRNA) to engineer immune cells delivered back into a patient, according to the company.

By employing transient expression via mRNA delivery, CARMA allows control over severe adverse effects, opening the high potency of CAR immunotherapies to a broader range of cancers than traditional CAR approaches, according to Doug Doerfler, president and CEO of MaxCyte.

“Our CARMA platform shows great promise for developing therapies for patients with both solid and liquid tumor types. It provides rapid, cost-effective manufacturing and delivery of cellular therapies to patients without many of the toxicities associated with other CAR-based approaches,” said Doerfler.

John DiPersio, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the Division of Oncology at Washington University School of Medicine and deputy director of the Siteman Cancer Center, and members of his team will collaborate with MaxCyte to conduct preclinical research with a focus on developing a potential investigational CAR therapy targeting acute myeloid leukemia and other related blood cancers.

The preclinical studies that the two collaborators anticipate as a result of this agreement will take advantage of the rapid, low-cost therapeutic development and manufacturing process enabled by the MaxCyte technology. As such, the financial commitment in the program would not be significant at this stage.

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