Cellevolve Bio, a development and commercialization company focused on cell therapies, and Seattle Children’s Therapeutics, a venture at Seattle Children’s, bringing cutting edge, curative technologies and therapies to defeat pediatric cancer and other diseases that impact children, have announced a collaboration aimed at developing and commercializing a suite of novel multiplex chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) for the treatment of pediatric central nervous system (CNS) malignancies.
The collaboration utilizes Seattle Children’s Cure Factory® facility for early clinical GMP research on novel CARs, and its new VectorWorks facility to expand lentiviral vector manufacturing for tailored cell therapy products. Additionally, Dr. Michael Jensen, pediatric cancer research scientist, co-founder of cell therapy companies, Juno and Umoja, and Chief Therapeutics Officer at Seattle Children’s Therapeutics, will be named Cellevolve’s Founding Advisor and Chair, Scientific Advisory Board.
Cellevolve and Seattle Children’s Therapeutics will collaborate on advancing the BrainChild research program, which currently includes three pediatric Phase 1 clinical trials at Seattle Children’s – BrainChild-01, BrainChild-02 and BrainChild-03. Both organizations have agreed to an exclusive agreement in which Seattle Children’s Therapeutics will conduct early-stage discovery and pre-clinical, Phase 1 development while Cellevolve leads Phase 2 and subsequent clinical development with key Seattle Children’s Therapeutics involvement.
“Today is an exciting day for Cellevolve as we continue to grow our pipeline through this monumental collaboration with Seattle Children’s Therapeutics, a world class pediatric research organization with a demonstrated ability to translate promising research into novel therapies,” said Derrell Porter, MD, MBA, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Cellevolve.
“Cellevolve is thrilled to be able to work more closely with one of the brightest minds in cell therapy in Dr. Michael Jensen, an internationally recognized, pediatric hematologist-oncologist who has an unparalleled devotion to developing and testing promising T-cell treatments.”
Seattle Children’s Therapeutics will receive payments upon achievement of developmental milestones, and Cellevolve will provide financial support for early-stage discovery and preclinical development and Phase 1 clinical development. Seattle Children’s will also receive an equity stake in the company. Cellevolve will receive global license and worldwide rights to assets resulting from the collaboration.
The funds will also help enable Seattle Children’s Therapeutics to launch a fourth BrainChild trial and invest in expediting its immunotherapy research to fulfill its vision of developing and testing next-generation cell and gene therapies like cancer and other life-threatening and debilitating diseases that afflict children.
“Our initial therapeutic focus on pediatric CNS malignancies aligns with my lifelong devotion for developing novel therapies for children with life-threatening diseases who deserve futures full of promise,” said Michael Jensen, MD, Vice President and Chief Therapeutics Officer, Seattle Children’s Therapeutics. “I’m excited about the benefit this collaboration could bring towards fulfilling that aspiration.”
Childhood cancers are the leading cause of childhood mortality and data from Seattle Children’s Therapeutics’ Phase 1 studies will inform the development of future trials, including those targeting multiple proteins present on the surface of cancer cells. While the initial focus is on pediatric cancers, the collaboration allows for expansion to the adult CNS population.