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Poseida gets Novartis backing for myleoma CAR-T challenger

San Diego firm joins crowded field

Poseida

Gene-engineering specialist Poseida Therapeutics is launching its own challenger into the crowded CAR-T pipeline for multiple myeloma, and has just gained backing from Novartis.

The San Diego-based start-up company has developed a range of non-viral gene engineering technologies to create a pipeline of autologous CAR-T therapies, with its lead candidate targeting relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma.

There are a number of companies already pursuing this pathway, most notably Bluebird Bio and Celgene, whose bb2121 is currently in pole position in the BCMA-targeting class, and looks set to be the first-in-class filing in 2020.

Poseida’s P-BCMA-101 is currently enrolling patients for a phase 2 registrational trial with initial dosing expected in the first half of 2019, and Novartis yesterday added to its development pot.

The company yesterday closed its Series C financing round, raising $142m, with $75m equity investment from Novartis, along with several new investors including Aisling Capital Management, Pentwater Capital Management, Perceptive Advisors and additional undisclosed institutional investors.

This adds to the roll-call of existing investors Malin Corporation, Longitude Capital, Vivo Capital and Boxer Capital, who also participated in the financing.

Eric Ostertag

Eric Ostertag

“We welcome the support and investment from Novartis, a leader in the cell and gene therapy field,” said Eric Ostertag M.D., Ph.D., chief executive of Poseida.

“They are joined by an impressive group of new investors whose commitment enables us to accelerate the pursuit of our bold vision to create gene therapy product candidates that could result in single-treatment cures for numerous oncologic indications and orphan genetic diseases, with an initial focus on chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) therapies.”

Poseida’s suite of proprietary gene editing technologies include the piggyBac DNA Modification System, Cas-CLOVER and TAL-CLOVER site-specific nucleases and Footprint-Free Gene Editing.

The next generation of CAR-Ts are likely to be ‘off the shelf’ allogeneic therapies, and Poseida’s P-BCMA-ALLO1 is a contender in this field. It is being manufactured using the firm’s Cas-CLOVER site specific gene editing system for relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma, with an IND filing anticipated by late 2019 or early 2020.

Article by
Andrew McConaghie

23rd April 2019

From: Research

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