Allogene cuts 22% of workforce amid blood cancer therapy pivot

Allogene Therapeutics is discontinuing two of its Part II trials investigating its ‘off-the-shelf’ cell remedy in superior massive B-cell lymphoma (LBCL) sufferers, with the corporate as a substitute specializing in utilizing it as a first-line consolidation remedy.

The CAR-T specialist has already initiated start-up actions for a trial investigating cema-cel’s new focus space, in keeping with a 4 January press launch.

Whereas its focus shifts in direction of the frontline therapy, the corporate’s Phase II trials investigating cema-cel in sufferers with superior LBCL can be deprioritised.

As a part of the pivot, Allogene additionally stated it will likely be chopping 22% of its workforce, as per Reuters’ report on 5 January. Allogene had 361 workers as of February 2023.

The upcoming ALPHA3 trial will enrol round 230 sufferers who nonetheless have most cancers cells of their physique after R-CHOP, a combo of chemotherapy, steroids and most cancers medicine. Though six cycles of R-CHOP are efficient, round 30% of sufferers will relapse.

Allogene stated it intends for anti-CD19 remedy cema-cel, previously often known as ALLO-501A, to grow to be the ‘seventh cycle’ of therapy. The trial’s main endpoint is event-free survival.

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To assist with figuring out sufferers whose most cancers stays following therapy, Allogene has partnered with Foresight Diagnostics to develop a minimal residual check (MRD), as per a 4 January announcement.

The MRD in-vitro diagnostic characterises the variety of most cancers cells that stay within the affected person after therapy utilizing circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) evaluation.

The US-based most cancers diagnostics firm Foresight has a liquid biopsy testing platform for MRD measurement. The know-how kinds the idea for what can be used within the ALPHA3 trial. Foresight’s investigational PhasED-Seq ctDNA-MRD platform will establish LBCL sufferers with MRD after first-line consolidation therapy.

Allogene’s co-founder and CEO David Chang stated an ultra-sensitive ctDNA-based biomarker is essential to establish sufferers that also have a small quantity of most cancers cells, and for whom most cancers will possible recur.

Chang added that the mixture of a fast, blood-base check and Allogene’s ‘off-the-shelf’ remedy will broaden affected person entry by making enrolment obtainable in locations the place infrastructure to manage autologous therapies doesn’t exist.

Allogene obtained rights to 16 pre-clinical chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell remedy belongings from Pfizer, which it in flip had licensed from Cellectis. Allogene was shaped with $300m in Sequence A financing with a contribution from Pfizer, which holds a 25% stake within the firm.

AbbVie has additionally seen the promise of CAR-T. This week, it entered a strategic partnership with Umoja Biopharma in a deal potentially worth up to $1.44bn.


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