UMB Commercializes Cancer Targeting Technology

August 1, 2017    |  

Lentigen Technology Inc., a subsidiary of Miltenyi Biotec GmbH, has acquired immunotherapy start-up Living Pharma, Inc. Eduardo Davila, PhD, Living Pharma Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, who is also a faculty member of the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM), along with Koji Tamada, MD, PhD, UMSOM, invented Living Pharma’s anti-tag-chimeric antigen receptor (AT-CAR™) technology.

Current CAR-T cell therapies detect only a single tumor-associated antigen, thus requiring multiple CAR-T products for treating an individual’s cancer. Living Pharma’s solution, AT-CAR, recognizes a specific “tag” that is part of a tumor-targeting molecule. By adding or withdrawing the tumor-targeting molecule, CAR activity can be regulated.  For example, CAR activity could be removed once the therapy has had its anti-tumor effect.  The Living Pharma technology also endows a single AT-CAR T-cell product with the adaptability to target and destroy multiple cancer types and the potential to sequentially or simultaneously target a panel of tumor antigens.

“The intellectual property behind AT-CAR technology is fundamental for the development of universal CAR-T cell therapeutics that couple a universal AT-CAR with tumor-targeting molecules, like an antibody, in the body. The potential of this technology is substantial and it could take  CAR-T cell therapeutics to the next level,” said Boro Dropulić, Lentigen’s Chief Science Officer and General Manager. “Furthermore, with our operations in Gaithersburg, Maryland, it’s ideal for us to propel forward a technology developed right in our backyard and coming out of one of the State’s top institutions – the University of Maryland School of Medicine.”

“Leveraging the capabilities and resources of Lentigen and Miltenyi Biotec with Living Pharma’s universal CAR-T cell technology is a win-win for our companies and for individuals living with hard-to-treat cancers,” said Ronald P. Dudek, President and Co-Founder of Living Pharma, and former VP Commercial Strategy at Juno Therapeutics, Inc. “I look forward to joining the Lentigen and Miltenyi Biotec team to further develop the AT-CAR technology and to advance products for personalized cancer therapy into the clinic.”

Phil Robilotto, DO, UMB’s Assistant Vice President for Technology Transfer and board representative for Living Pharma, added, “We are very excited by this acquisition as it enables the AT-CAR technology to receive benefits from both a global leader in Miltenyi and a growing local collaborator in Lentigen – while also further validating the University’s New Venture Initiative model, in general.”

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.