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The companies have entered into a clinical and commercial agreement to use MaxCyte’s ExPERT platform to enable development of up to five of Vor’s engineered cell therapies.
Cambridge, MA-based Vor Biopharma, an oncology company specializing in cancer treatments derived from engineered hematopoietic stem cells (eHSCs), and Gaithersburg, MD-based MaxCyte, a cell-based therapies and life sciences company, announced on Nov. 21, 2019 that they have entered into a clinical and commercial license agreement. Under the agreement, Vor will use MaxCyte’s Flow Electroporation technology to produce eHSCs and initiate investigational new drug (IND)-enabling studies to accelerate their progress towards clinical development.
Also under the agreement, Vor will obtain non-exclusive clinical and commercial use rights to MaxCyte’s Flow Electroporation technology and ExPERT platform. Vor will use this technology to develop up to five engineered cell therapies, including VOR33, its lead eHSC candidate, which is in development for acute myeloid leukemia (AML). In return, MaxCyte will receive undisclosed development and approval milestones and sales-based payments in addition to other licensing fees.
With MaxCyte’s cell-engineering platform, Vor will deliver its gene-editing machinery into hematopoietic stem cells to remove biologically redundant cell surface proteins that are also expressed on blood cancer cells. Once the eHSCs are transplanted into a cancer patient, these cells are hidden from complementary targeted therapies that target the relevant protein, while diseased cells are left vulnerable to attack. This approach could intensify the potential of targeted therapies by broadening the therapeutic window and improving the utility of complementary targeted therapies.
“MaxCyte is a leader in GMP electroporation technology, and we are thrilled that this agreement provides us with long-term access to a platform technology applicable to a pipeline of eHSC programs used to treat AML and other blood cancers,” said Sadik Kassim, PhD, chief technology officer of Vor, in a company press release. “As we build on promising in-vivo data from our lead candidate, VOR33, we can now expand our manufacturing capabilities to support later-stage studies, regulatory filings, and commercialization of VOR33.”
MaxCyte’s ExPERT instrument family represents the next generation of clinically validated electroporation technology for complex and scalable cellular engineering. By delivering high transfection efficiency with enhanced functionality, the ExPERT platform delivers high-end performance, according to MaxCyte.
“We look forward to expanding our relationship with Vor Biopharma as the company pioneers a potential future standard of care in hematopoietic stem cell transplants for cancer patients in need,” said Doug Doerfler, president and CEO of MaxCyte, in the press release. “This agreement represents another key business milestone for MaxCyte, emphasizing the value of our technology platform applied to next-generation engineered cell therapies that may make a true difference in patient outcomes.”