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Prescient Therapeutics demystifies OmniCAR’s ‘on-demand tumour killing’ capabilities

October 20, 2021

Prescient Therapeutics demystifies OmniCAR’s ‘on-demand tumour killing’ capabilities

Prescient Therapeutics’ next-generation CAR-T platform OmniCAR has delivered overwhelmingly positive results in recent pre-clinical studies as the company builds towards clinical testing.

Prescient Therapeutics’ next-generation CAR-T platform OmniCAR has delivered overwhelmingly positive results in recent pre-clinical studies as the company builds towards clinical testing.

These studies – some conducted in conjunction with leading researchers at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre – have examined everything from dose responsiveness to re-arming CAR-T cells, providing new insights into how they can help patients.

“It’s one of many exciting developments made within the cell therapy space in recent years”, the company’s CEO Steven Yatomi-Clarke told investors in a recent update.

To put these recent wins into perspective, Mr Yatomi-Clarke provided a detailed explainer on exactly what OmniCAR is, and how it improves on earlier forms of CAR-T therapy. 

“As the cell therapy space continues to develop, I think what we’re finding is the more people know about the space the more they really appreciate what we have (OmniCAR) and the potential of this,” he added.

‘Weaponising’ the human immune system

Prescient Therapeutics’ OmniCAR platform is designed to enhance a type of cell therapy known as CAR-T, in which a cancer patient’s blood – and specifically their T-cells – is extracted in order to create a tailored drug.

“These T-cells are effectively at the “front line” of the human immune system”, Mr Yatomi-Clarke said, “and although they are very effective at identifying and attacking infected cells, they struggle to recognise cancerous cells”.

“Outside of the body, these [T-cells] are reprogrammed, we put a new receptor on them that is now enabling these cells to attack cancer, and millions of these are grown and given back to the patient,” he said.

“It’s a way of weaponising a patient’s own immune system.”

This process was pioneered by the University of Pennsylvania, and has already yielded a number of different types of CAR-T treatments, starting with Novartis’ Kymriah – a drug which is currently treating patients around the world and is even listed on Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

Unfortunately, these early CAR-T treatments suffer from several challenges which prevent them from being widely used. 

These include the time and cost involved in providing such a tailored treatment to patients, as well as concerns over the control of these ‘living drugs’ and the safety risks associated with letting them loose in a patient’s body.

OmniCAR: A modular solution

OmniCAR seeks to overcome these challenges using technology developed by CAR-T’s original pioneers, the University of Pennsylvania.

Using technology licensed from the school, Prescient Therapeutics is able to ‘modularise’ the two parts of the T-cell which enable it to hunt for cancer; the targeting ligand and the signalling domain.

This means targeting ligands can be switched in or out of the cell, attaching to the signalling ligand “like two bits of velcro” when needed, and giving doctors more control over the treatment.

The two bits of velcro come together, it switches the system on, and you get on-demand tumour killing,” Mr Yatomi-Clarke said.

The process used is also agnostic to the types of ligands used, the immune cells it employs, and the cancer antigens it looks for – meaning OmniCAR can operate as a genuine platform for other treatments. 

To stay updated with the latest company news and announcements, please update your details on the Prescient Therapeutics investor centre.

Reach Markets has been engaged by PTX to assist with their investor communications

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