Minneapolis, July 7, 2020 —Luminary Therapeutics (Luminary Tx) and Case Western Reserve University have entered into a formal collaboration agreement that includes an option for Luminary to exclusively license a novel BAFF target for use in CAR-T (chimeric antigen receptor T cells) constructs.
The BAFF target was discovered by Reshmi Parameswaran, PhD, an assistant professor at the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine and a faculty member in the Division of Hematology and Oncology, Department of Medicine, and the Seidman Cancer Center at University Hospitals (UH) in Cleveland.
Luminary intends to conduct IND-enabling non-clinical studies to support two clinical trials with its novel and proprietary non-viral autologous BAFF CAR-T (LMY-920) to treat Mantle Cell Lymphoma and Sjogren’s Syndrome. This BAFF target is unique in that it binds to three distinct receptors (BAFF, BCMA, and TACI). Additionally, this BAFF target avoids early B-Cells while targeting more mature B-Cells that express one of three antigens.
“This next generation BAFF CAR offers the promise of treating B-Cell malignancies without total loss of a patient’s healthy B-Cells as well as offering the promise of a reduction in antigen escape during the treatment regimen,” said Beau Webber, Luminary Tx’s chief scientific officer.
“Our rationale for choosing to collaborate with Luminary Tx is due to their non-viral approach for clinical development with our BAFF target,” said Michael Haag, Case Western Reserve’s executive director of Technology Management. “We believe that Luminary’s experience and flexibility can move this asset into the clinic faster than other therapeutic companies.”
Luminary has an aggressive clinical development plan to initiate two Phase I clinical trials. Jeff Liter, Luminary Tx’s CEO, noted that, “Our development plan focuses on non-viral CAR-T platforms that can speed our time to the clinic well ahead of other virus-based approaches.”
In addition to scientific expertise and intellectual property, Luminary is excited to work with CWRU and UH because of the expertise and infrastructure available in the Cellular Therapy Laboratory, an on-site state-of-the-art GMP cell manufacturing facility capable of generating CAR-T cells in an expedited fashion and at reduced cost. UH is also a home to several cell therapy clinical trials led by experienced oncologists at the UH Seidman Cancer Center, part of the NCI-designated Case Comprehensive Cancer Center and the region’s only freestanding cancer hospital.
About Case Western Reserve University
Case Western Reserve University is one of the country’s leading private research institutions. Located in Cleveland, offering a unique combination of forward-thinking educational opportunities in an inspiring cultural setting. Case’s leading-edge faculty engage in teaching and research in a collaborative, hands-on environment. Case’s nationally recognized programs include arts and sciences, dental medicine, engineering, law, management, medicine, nursing and social work. About 5,100 undergraduate and 6,700 graduate students comprise the student body. Visit case.edu to see how Case Western Reserve thinks beyond the possible.
About Luminary Therapeutics, Inc.
Luminary Therapeutics is a pre-clinical stage cell therapy development company focused on non-viral autologous treatments for cancer and autoimmune diseases. Located in Minneapolis, Luminary’s team is comprised of academic, industry, and business leaders from top biotech and consulting organizations. Luminary seeks licensing opportunities for novel cell therapy intellectual property (IP) for the treatment of solid tumors and in underserved disorders. Luminary is developing processes, capabilities, and strategic relationships that will enable the company to take unique opportunities from “concept to clinic” in the most cost effective and timely manner.
For more information visit www.luminarytx.com
About University Hospitals
Founded in 1866, University Hospitals serves the needs of patients through an integrated network of 18 hospitals, more than 50 health centers and outpatient facilities, and 200 physician offices in 16 counties throughout northern Ohio. The system’s flagship academic medical center, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, located in Cleveland’s University Circle, is affiliated with Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. UH is home to some of the most prestigious clinical and research programs in the nation, including cancer, pediatrics, women’s health, orthopedics, radiology, neuroscience, cardiology and cardiovascular surgery, digestive health, transplantation and urology. For more information, visit UHhospitals.org.
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Contact: Jeff Liter