UCART19 is an allogeneic CAR T-cell product candidate developed for treatment of CD19-expressing hematological malignancies, gene edited with TALEN®. UCART19 is initially being developed in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Cellectis’ approach with UCART19 is based on the preliminary positive results from clinical trials using autologous products based on the CAR technology, and has the potential to overcome the limitation of the current autologous approach by providing an allogeneic, frozen, “off-the-shelf” T cell based medicinal product.
In a medical first, two young patients were treated with gene edited off-the-shelf T-cells. The two infants, each had leukemia and had undergone previous treatments that failed, according to a description of their cases published in January 2017 in Science Translational Medicine. This first-in-human application of our TALEN® engineered T-cell product candidate represents a landmark in the use of new gene engineering technology and provides encouraging data for a ready-made T-cell strategy that is currently tested in clinical investigations. GOSH has treated in 2015 these young patients under a special license from the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) with Cellectis’ TALEN® gene edited allogeneic UCART19 product candidate because no other therapies were available for refractory relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) following mismatched allogeneic stem cell transplantation. In response to an unsolicited request from Professor Waseem Qasim, Consultant Immunologist at GOSH and Professor of Cell and Gene Therapy at University College London (UCL) Institute of Child Health, Cellectis gave its approval for the use of its UCART19 product candidate and technologies under GOSH’s “Specials” license and responsibility, for the particular clinical needs of these patients.
On November 18, 2015, we signed with Servier an amendment to our collaboration agreement. Notably, Servier exercised its option to acquire exclusive worldwide rights to further develop and commercialize UCART19.