What You Need to Know About Adicet Bio
January 9, 2017
By Mark Terry, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
Adicet Bio is focused on developing off-the-shelf immune cells with engineered chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) and T-cell receptors (TCRs).
Founded in January 2016, Adicet boosts what it calls a university immune cell therapy (uICT) platform and related products, and a platform developed by Israel-based Applied Immune Technologies, which Adicet acquired in January.
AIT creates and develops T-Cell Receptor-Like antibodies that have high affinity and specificity to the intracellular surface cell peptides related to specific diseases. In addition, AIT developed Epitarget, a proprietary technology that identifies and validates novel disease-specific peptide targets.
Aya Jakobovits— founder, president and chief executive officer. Jakabovits is well known in the biotech world. Prior to founding Adicet, she was president and founding chief executive officer of Kite Pharma . Before Kite, she was the executive vice president and head of R&D at Agensys, which was bought by Astellus in 2007 for up to $537 million. She was also the director of discovery research and principal scientist at Abgenix, which was acquired by Amgen in 2005 for $2.2 billion.
Andy Lin—vice president, Product Sciences. Prior to joining Adicet, Lin was In Process Research and Development at Genentech , and before that a consultant with bluebird bio .
John Tran—chief financial officer. Before joining Adicent, Tran was with NGM Biopharmaceuticals, Vivace Therapeutics, and ImmunGene, Inc. .
The company’s board of directors includes Jonathan Silverstein and Carl Gordon, general partners and co-heads of Global Private Equity at OrbiMed, Jakabovits, Florent Gros, managing director at Novartis Venture Fund, and Erez Chimovits, managing director at OrbiMed Israel.
In January, Adicet Bio officially launched when it closed a $51 million Series A financing round. The financing round was led by OrbiMed and included Novartis Venture Fund and Pontifax.
The company is barely out of stealth mode. Jakobovits told BioSpace, “We are not in the public domain, so we’re not releasing our pipeline.”
The company is fairly secretive, but the key to its approach appears to be “off-the-shelf.” One of the biggest challenges for immune-oncology approaches is how individualized and therefore time-consuming and labor-intensive they are. Most approaches rely on drawing T-cells from the patient, modifying them to the patient’s specific cancer type, and administering them back into the patient. Adicet’s focus is on developing more general, “universal” CAR-T strategies.
Both Juno Therapeutics and Kite Pharma are leaders in the CAR-T space. In July 2016, Juno announced that its Phase II trial of JCARO15 was on a clinical hold after three patient deaths. This temporarily rocked the industry, cutting into the stock value of other CAR-T companies, notably Kite. However, Kite bounced back and it appears that Kite will be the first company to file with the FDA for a CAR-T therapy. Kite’s KTE-C19 is being evaluated in patients with an aggressive form of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL).
Dollars and Deals
At the same time it closed on its Series A financing round, the company announced it had acquired Israel-based Applied Immune Technologies, which is now called Adicet Bio Israel.
In August 2016, Adicet inked a licensing agreement with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals to develop next-generation engineered immune cell therapeutics. Adicent received $25 million up front, as well as research funding over five years. Regeneron has the option to pick up development and commercial rights for a specific number of product candidates. Adicet has the option to participate in the development and commercialization on these products.
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