08/06/2012 | 02:09am US/Eastern
ZURICH–Novartis AG (>> Novartis AG) said Monday it has entered a multi-year collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania to research, develop and commercialize targeted immunotherapies for the treatment of cancers.
-In CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) immunotherapy, immune cells, or T cells, are re-coded to identify and seek out cells that express proteins present on a patient’s cancerous tumor. When the T cells are re-introduced into the patient’s blood, they bind to the targeted cancer cells and destroy them.
-As part of the transaction, Novartis acquired exclusive rights to CART-19, a novel investigational CAR therapy, currently being studied by the university in a pilot clinical trial.
-CART-19 targets a protein called CD19 that is associated with a number of B-cell malignancies such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), B-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.
-Early results from the trial showed potent antileukemic effects in three patients with advanced CLL who had previously undergone multiple courses of chemotherapy and biological therapy. Two of the patients were still in complete remission more than a year into the CART-19 trial, and the third patient maintained partial remission for more than seven months.
-Under the terms of the agreement, Penn grants Novartis an exclusive worldwide license to CARs developed through the collaboration for all indications and CART-19. In addition Novartis will provide an up-front payment, research funding, funding for the establishment of the CACT and milestone payments for the achievement of certain clinical, regulatory and commercial milestones and royalty payments.
-Novartis and Penn will also build the Center for Advanced Cellular Therapies on the Penn campus in Philadelphia.
-Zurich Bureau, Dow Jones Newswires, +41 43 443 80 47;
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