Luminary Therapeutics (Luminary Tx) and Case Western Reserve University have entered into a formal collaboration agreement that includes an option for Luminary to exclusively license a novel BAFF target for use in CAR-T (chimeric antigen receptor T cells) constructs.
The BAFF target was discovered by Reshmi Parameswaran, an assistant professor at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine and a faculty member in the Division of Hematology and Oncology, Department of Medicine, and the Seidman Cancer Center at University Hospitals (UH) in Cleveland.
Luminary intends to conduct IND-enabling non-clinical studies to support two clinical trials with its novel and proprietary non-viral autologous BAFF CAR-T (LMY-920) to treat Mantle Cell Lymphoma and Sjogren’s Syndrome. This BAFF target is unique in that it binds to three distinct receptors (BAFF, BCMA, and TACI). Additionally, this BAFF target avoids early B-Cells while targeting more mature B-Cells that express one of three antigens.
“Our rationale for choosing to collaborate with Luminary Tx is due to their non-viral approach for clinical development with our BAFF target,” said Michael Haag, Case Western Reserve’s executive director of Technology Management. “We believe that Luminary’s experience and flexibility can move this asset into the clinic faster than other therapeutic companies.”
Luminary has an aggressive clinical development plan to initiate two Phase I clinical trials. Jeff Liter, Luminary Tx’s CEO, noted that, “Our development plan focuses on non-viral CAR-T platforms that can speed our time to the clinic well ahead of other virus-based approaches.”
In addition to scientific expertise and intellectual property, Luminary is excited to work with CWRU and UH because of the expertise and infrastructure available in the Cellular Therapy Laboratory, an on-site state-of-the-art GMP cell manufacturing facility capable of generating CAR-T cells in an expedited fashion and at reduced cost. UH is also a home to several cell therapy clinical trials led by experienced oncologists at the UH Seidman Cancer Center, part of the NCI-designated Case Comprehensive Cancer Center and the region’s only freestanding cancer hospital.