PhoreMost and Oxford Biomedica enter gene therapy discovery collaboration

Oxford Biomedica Building 8150 Arlington Business Park

Oxford Biomedica plc, the leading gene and cell therapy group is to collaborate with PhoreMost Limited, the Cambridge-based biopharmaceutical company, to develop next-generation CAR-T cell therapies. Financial details of the agreement are not disclosed.

PhoreMost will deploy its in-house expertise and next-generation phenotypic screening platform, SITESEEKER, to identify therapeutic candidates for Oxford Biomedica’s LentiVector gene therapy delivery system. The programme will initially focus on CAR-T therapy and aims to develop next-generation cell therapies with significantly improved efficacy and durability.

According to Cancer Research UK, CAR T-cell therapy is a type of immunotherapy. You might also hear it called a type of adoptive cell transfer. CAR T-cell therapy is a complex and specialist treatment. With this treatment, a specialist collects and makes a small change to a person’s T cells. These then target the cancer cells.
It is available as a possible treatment for some children with leukaemia and some adults with lymphoma. People with other types of cancer might have it as part of a clinical trial.
T cells are white blood cells (called lymphocytes), which play an important part in fighting infection and diseases, including cancer. There are different types of lymphocytes. T cells are one type. T cells move around the body to find and destroy defective cells. When you come into contact with a new infection or disease, the body makes T cells to fight that specific infection or disease. It then keeps some in reserve so that if you come across the infection again your body can recognise it and attack it immediately.

Dr Chris Torrance, CEO, PhoreMost, said: “This collaboration with Oxford Biomedica, a global pioneer in cell and gene therapies, is further recognition of the power of SITESEEKER, offering an exciting opportunity to discover and accelerate the development of clinical stage products. The natural complementarity between SITESEEKER and LentiVector offers great promise for this and future collaborations between the two companies.”

John Dawson, CEO of Oxford Biomedica, said: “We are excited to apply this next-generation technology to our LentiVector® platform. The collaboration has the potential to deliver more effective CAR-T therapies, and we look forward to working closely with the PhoreMost team.”