Atara Biotherapeutics exclusively licenses rights to CAR T immunotherapy
Atara Biotherapeutics announced that it has exclusively licensed worldwide rights to a mesothelin-targeted chimeric antigen receptor T-cell, or CAR T, immunotherapy for solid tumors from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, or MSK. The most advanced program in Atara's CAR T collaboration with MSK will focus on development of a next-generation, mesothelin-targeted CAR T using novel 1XX CAR signaling domain and PD-1 dominant negative receptor checkpoint inhibition technologies for patients with mesothelin-associated solid tumors. Mesothelin is a solid tumor-associated antigen that is expressed at high levels on the surface of cells in aggressive solid tumors including mesothelioma, triple-negative breast cancer, esophageal cancer, pancreatic cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. Initial results from an ongoing MSK investigator-sponsored Phase 1 study of a mesothelin-targeted CAR T immunotherapy for patients with malignant pleural cancers were presented at the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy and support activity and safety in patients with advanced mesothelioma. This ongoing Phase 1 dose-escalation study continues to accrue patients and enhanced response rates were observed when patients were subsequently treated with pembrolizumab, a PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor. MSK is also investigating mesothelin-targeted CAR T cells for patients with advanced breast and lung cancer. Additional results from these ongoing studies are expected to be presented at upcoming scientific congresses.