Immatics Biotechnologies GmbH (Immatics) and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center announced today the launch of Immatics US, Inc., a new company aiming at becoming a global leader in adoptive cellular therapies (ACT) for the treatment of a range of tumor types.
Immatics believes that ACT approaches to be developed by the new company can achieve a step change in the treatment of cancer, by delivering significant, long-lasting clinical benefits. The new company will strive to develop three different ACT approaches for the treatment of tumors with high unmet medical needs, the first of which will enter the clinic in 2016.
Immatics US, Inc. will develop both autologous and allogenic ACT approaches by capitalizing on MD Anderson's world-leading clinical oncology and cell therapy expertise and Immatics' unrivaled cancer target, and T-cell receptor (TCR) discovery capabilities.
Immatics US, Inc. will be based in Houston and has secured a first funding round totaling over $60 million with more than $40 million committed by the parent company Immatics Biotechnologies GmbH and $19.7 million by a recently awarded grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). MD Anderson is a shareholder in Immatics, US, Inc.
Immatics has been able to use its unique and world-leading technology platform XPRESIDENT® for the discovery and further qualification of dozens of novel, proprietary and highly specific cancer targets that can be used as the basis for a range of cancer immunotherapy applications including ACT. This capability will enable the TCR-based approaches developed by Immatics US, Inc. to have complementary utility with other approaches for addressing tumor targets. Immatics believes its ACTs will be both efficacious and safe due to the specificity of its novel well-characterized targets, including novel over-expressed, cancer-testis and neo-antigens ideally suited for specific and safe ACT approaches.
Immatics has been benefiting from MD Anderson's outstanding understanding of cancer immunotherapy. Two leading MD Anderson scientists, Patrick Hwu, M.D., division head of Cancer Medicine, and Cassian Yee, M.D., professor of Medical Melanoma Oncology have laid the scientific foundation for the adoptive cell therapy development plans of Immatics US, Inc., and they will continue to provide ongoing practical support and guidance as the company develops its ACT approaches and therapies.
Immatics has also gained access to various technologies developed or in-licensed by MD Anderson. These include the use of the cytokine IL-21 for expansion of T cells, a gamma-delta T-cell platform for allogeneic cell therapy approaches and various technologies designed to optimize the development of ACT.
"The potential of cancer immunotherapy has been constrained by the lack of novel targets. Immatics has been working for the last 15 years to gain a broad and in-depth understanding of the immunopeptidome of tumor and normal tissue cells," said Harpreet Singh, CEO of Immatics US, Inc. "Based on this unique expertise we have discovered dozens of novel immunotherapy targets that will be central to the success of Immatics US, Inc. With several complementary development programs guided by some of the most exceptional scientists in the field of cancer immunotherapy, we are in exactly the right place to deliver transforming therapies to cancer patients with high medical need."
"We are extremely excited about the potential of Immatics US, Inc. to develop and commercialize the world's best ACT," said Paul Higham, CEO of the parent company Immatics. "The combination of MD Anderson's significant clinical oncology and cell therapy expertise and our own unrivaled cancer target discovery capabilities will allow us to develop the optimal ACTs for the treatment of cancer, initially a range of solid tumors with high unmet medical need. I would like to thank CPRIT and our investors for their financial support and look forward to developing Immatics US, Inc. into one of the world's leading cancer immunotherapy companies."
"Our ongoing efforts to provide the most innovative therapies to our patients are due, in part, to collaborations both in academia and industry," said Ronald DePinho, M.D, president of MD Anderson. "It is only through working with other leaders in cancer science will we provide the solutions of tomorrow."