New CEO Brings a Hefty To Do List to Immatics
One dynamic company making headlines in pharma news is Immatics, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical powerhouse that focuses on T cell redirecting immunotherapies to treat cancer. As Chief Scientist and Co-Founder Harpreet Singh gets promoted to CEO at the German/US biotech hybrid company, he moves to incorporate several big changes. It’s been just a few months since the company launched its 4th clinical trial for a unique brand of cell therapies, and Singh will be given oversight of many additional trials for adoptive T cell therapies. This will be done with a group of high-profile pharma industry partners. The manner in which it will be done has been described as an “off-the-shelf” approach to new cancer therapies.
Immatics and T Cell Therapy Breakthroughs
In the fall of 2017, a German billionaire named Dietmar Hopp backed Immatics early, joining Amgen and several other investors to succeed in pushing the funding for Immatics to more than $230 million. Even though cell therapy has been a “hot” area for some time, Immatics had been working with more specialized T cell targeting drugs. This specialized work has created what the company calls the next-gen approach to personalized CAR-T therapies that zero in on solid tumors.
Harpreet Singh has already added several things to his “to do” list for Immatics, including considering a possible new partnership and working through the rollout of the company’s first batch of early stage data. The upcoming CEO aims for Immatics to become the global leader when it comes to TCR-based immunotherapy – “And we are on an excellent track getting there,” he explains. “While we clearly are already THE world-leading company in the discovery of novel I/O targets and TCRs, we do not see ourselves just as a platform company but dedicated to developing clinical-stage products that will deliver the power of T cells to cancer patients.”
Specifics about the “To-Do” List
There is currently a total of four adoptive cell therapy clinical trials for Immatics that are underway with MD Anderson Cancer Center, and the company is also working to progress its allogeneic ACT and TCR Bispecifics hopefuls into the clinic. If that wasn’t exciting already, Immatics is also working closely in collaboration with Roche and Genmab, as well as Amgen as partners to move forward with several first-in-man trials. As for cell therapy, the company is considering a “strategic alliance with a large player in the field of cell therapy,” explains Singh.
Immatics has also identified five factors that its teams address in order to overcome the challenges in the field of solid cancers, which is where the company sees the biggest need for dedication of time and resources.
Those five are:
- Unleashing a never-before-seen level of T cells against cancer cells
- Leveraging the best tumor targets
- Focusing on the best T cell receptors
- Utilizing multiple TCRs simultaneously
- Targeting the tumor microenvironment specifically (which has never been done before)
Members of the Immatics staff will be on hand at the AACR Immune Cell Therapies Conference in San Francisco from July 19-22, 2019, at which they will reveal the first data from the company’s AC-Tolog multi-T cell product clinical trial. The Immatics team will demonstrate how they have replaced more than half of a patient’s immune cells with multiple adoptively infused T cell populations that are directed to several defined cancer and tumor stroma targets. These targets are those that have been confirmed to be expressed in the patient the team treated as part of the trial.
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