• AbbVie to maintain exclusive access to Calibr-Skaggs' switchable CAR-T (sCAR-T) platform to develop novel cell therapy candidates against solid tumor targets identified by AbbVie
  • AbbVie also has the option to explore the applicability of Calibr-Skaggs' sCAR-T platform in autoimmune diseases
  • Calibr-Skaggs to partner with AbbVie to support discovery of next-generation sCAR-Ts using genetic medicine-based approaches

LA JOLLA, Calif., Feb. 6, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- The Calibr-Skaggs Institute for Innovative Medicines, the nonprofit drug development division of Scripps Research, announced today that AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV) has expanded its collaboration to further explore Calibr-Skaggs' switchable CAR-T (sCAR-T) platform in solid tumor indications and autoimmune diseases.

"The activity of our switchable CAR-T cell platform has exceeded even our expectations in these early clinical results," says Travis Young, PhD, Calibr-Skaggs' vice president of Biologics and lead on the sCAR-T program at Calibr-Skaggs. "We greatly value AbbVie's ongoing partnership to explore this platform in solid tumors and autoimmune diseases. We believe this platform has potential to make a significant impact across solid tumors, an area where traditionally CAR-T has not demonstrated much activity."

CAR-T cell therapies rely on gathering a patient's own T cells, modifying them to specifically target cancer cells, and delivering them back to the patient where they eradicate cancer cells in the body. Broader use of conventional CAR-T treatments has been limited by various factors, including safety concerns and infrequent responses against solid tumor cancers. The hallmark toxicities associated with traditional CAR-T approaches, such as cytokine release syndrome (CRS) and immune effector cell-associated neurotoxicity syndrome (ICANS), often occur due to overactivation of the modified CAR-T cells in the body. Calibr-Skaggs' sCAR-T approach is designed to overcome these challenges by controlling the activation of these cells using a novel antibody-based "switch" which binds to a tumor-antigen and to the sCAR-T cell component, when dosed at an interval.  The unique mechanism of sCAR-T may also enhance effectiveness in solid tumors.

Patients, cancers and treatment responses are often highly heterogenous. Therefore, the use of a switchable molecule could allow physicians to tune treatment for a patient's specific needs, whether it be in response to symptoms or to continue treatment.

"We are dedicated to pursuing innovation that offers a potential solution to existing treatment challenges in oncology and immunology," says Jonathon Sedgwick, Ph.D., vice president and global head of discovery research at AbbVie. "Unlike traditional CAR-T cell therapies, Calibr-Skaggs' innovative approach may offer enhanced control and precision for activating CAR-Ts, thus potentially reducing adverse effects of existing CAR-T cell therapies. We look forward to working with Calibr-Skaggs to further explore this promising avenue in the pursuit of next-generation treatments."

Under the terms of the license agreement, AbbVie will pay Calibr-Skaggs an upfront license fee and maintain exclusive access to Calibr-Skaggs' switchable CAR-T platform for a term of up to five years. AbbVie also has the option to license existing Calibr-Skaggs cell therapy programs under development for hematological and solid tumors, including Calibr-Skaggs' lead program and will have the option to explore the applicability of sCAR-Ts in autoimmune diseases. Calibr-Skaggs is eligible to receive success-based milestone payments and royalties.

About the Calibr-Skaggs Institute for Innovative Medicines
The Calibr-Skaggs Institute for Innovative Medicines was founded on the principle that the creation of new medicines can be accelerated by pairing world-class biomedical research with state-of-the-art drug discovery and development capabilities. Leveraging the unique scientific framework of Scripps Research, Calibr-Skaggs has created a portfolio of drug candidates based on Scripps Research technologies and is shaping a new paradigm for advancing nonprofit biomedical research to impact patients. Learn more at https://calibr.scripps.edu/. 

Media Contact: 
Scripps Research Communications Office

Cision View original content:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/calibr-skaggs-announces-expansion-of-option-and-license-agreement-with-abbvie-to-develop-novel-cell-therapies-for-solid-tumors-and-autoimmune-diseases-302053874.html

SOURCE Scripps Research

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