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Federal Government announces new CAR-T subsidies

August 11, 2021

Federal Government announces new CAR-T subsidies

CAR-T therapies have proven to be revolutionary treatments for cancer, but their high costs have limited patient access. The Australian Federal Government have addressed this in a new public funding announcement for a CAR-T drug for use in patients suffering from certain types of cancer.

CAR-T therapies have proven to be revolutionary treatments for cancer, but their high costs have limited patient access. The Australian Federal Government have addressed this in a new public funding announcement for a CAR-T drug for use in patients suffering from certain types of cancer.

Eligible patients will now be able to access Kite Pharma’s Yescarta drug through Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne or one of two hospitals in Brisbane, with more sites in Sydney expected to follow.

The drug will be available to adults with relapsed or refractory CD-19 positive, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma, transformed follicular lymphoma and high grade B-cell lymphoma.

Certain eligibility requirements will also need to be met before patients receive Yescarta.

CAR-T industry making big strides

This week’s announcement is the latest in a series of positive steps being taken by the burgeoning CAR-T industry, including Yescarta itself receiving the approval of China’s National Medical Products Administration.

In the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently granted ‘fast track’ status to AlloGene Therapeutics’ ALLO-605 CAR-T therapy, for patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma.

A fast track designation helps pharmaceutical companies expedite the testing and approval process for potentially life-saving drugs or therapies, for illnesses which currently cannot be treated, or where new treatments under development offer a better solution.

Peter MacCallum grows its role in CAR-T development

The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre – one of the three Melbourne locations chosen to provide Yescarta to patients – is also helping develop new CAR-T treatments through partnerships with ASX-listed biotech Prescient Therapeutics.

Under the partnership, researchers at the Peter MacCallum centre will assist Prescient in the development of its next generation CAR-T platform, OmniCAR.

CAR-T therapies – chimeric antigen receptor T-cell – are a kind of cell therapy in which cells from a patient’s own immune system are genetically modified to attack cancerous cells.

Prescient plans to make this type of treatment safer for patients and give doctors more control over the use of CAR-T treatments with its OmniCAR platform, which has been built using technology licensed from CAR-T pioneer University of Pennsylvania and Oxford University.

The company also hopes OmniCAR will improve CAR-T’s effectiveness against solid tumours.

Traditional CAR-T therapies are limited in their use against these tumours because the modified T-cells produced through the treatment can struggle to penetrate the tumour tissue.

OmniCAR will allow modified T-cells to be armed against multiple targets simultaneously (or sequentially) which should help the sector make progress against solid tumours.

To stay up-to-date on Prescient’s news and announcements, register your details on the Investor Centre.

 

Reach Markets have been engaged by PTX to help manage their investor communications.

 

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