[THE INVESTOR] Korean biotech firms Biocure Pharm and Pharos Vaccine said on Dec. 6 that they will work together to develop a gene therapy for leukemia with a plan to complete pre-clinical trials by mid-2018.
Known as a chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy, or CAR-T, it is a personalized medication using a patient’s own immune cells to fight cancer.
The two companies will begin preclinical studies of CAR-T targeting a molecule called CD19 on the surface of the cancer cells.
“We have completed basic discussions on the preclinical trials with Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. We plan to conduct the phase 1 clinical programs at three sites, including Korea, Charité University Hospital in Berlin, Germany, and Canada where Biocure Pharm is listed,” an official at Biocure Pharm was quoted as saying by local media.
In August, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the world’s first gene therapy against cancer, a leukemia treatment called Kymriah, made by Novartis. Gilead Science’s Yescarta, a lymphoma therapy drug also received the green light for a second form of gene drug in October.
“The new drug will primarily target B-cell lymphoma which is the same indication as Novartis’ Kymriah,” the official said.
By Park Han-na (firstname.lastname@example.org)