As a pioneer in the field of allogeneic T-cell therapy, Atara’s strategy is to collaborate with academic and industry leaders applying next-gen technologies. We are committed to developing our off-the-shelf, allogeneic platform and welcome collaboration and licensing opportunities in the following areas:
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In 2015, Atara entered into a worldwide license agreement with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) for the development, manufacturing, and commercialization of allogeneic T-cell therapies developed in the lab of Dr. Richard O’Reilly for the treatment of certain cancers and persistent viral infections. Under the terms of the agreement, we acquired the rights to tab-cel®, which is currently completing a registrational study for the treatment of EBV+ PTLD, and a Phase 2 study for additional EBV-driven malignancies.
In 2018, we expanded our collaboration with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) to develop the next generation of genetically engineered chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR T) immunotherapies. We gained access to several of MSK’s innovative enabling technologies, including a novel co-stimulatory domain (1XX) that may have physiologic T-cell activation properties, as well as methods for designing CAR T immunotherapies. Under the agreement, Atara has also entered into an exclusive research collaboration for multiple targets with Michel Sadelain, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Center for Cell Engineering at MSK, to employ next-generation technologies in developing novel CAR T immunotherapies with potential applications in oncology, autoimmune and infectious diseases.
In 2018, we also entered a research collaboration and licensed worldwide rights to mesothelin-targeted chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR T) immunotherapies for solid tumors developed in the lab of Dr. Prasad Adusumilli. The most advanced program in Atara’s CAR T collaboration with MSK is focused on the development of a next-generation, mesothelin-targeted CAR T using novel 1XX CAR signaling domain and PD-1 dominant negative receptor (DNR) checkpoint inhibition technologies for patients with mesothelin-associated solid tumors.
In 2015, we obtained an exclusive, worldwide license to develop and commercialize allogeneic, or “off-the-shelf”, cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTLs) directed against multiple epitopes of the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) utilizing technology developed by Dr. Rajiv Khanna at QIMR Berghofer. Initial application of the technology includes Atara’s Phase 2 candidate ATA188, currently being investigated for the treatment of certain autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis (MS). We have also expanded the collaboration to include research and development of additional programs, which include targeting human papillomavirus (HPV).
In 2018, we entered into a license agreement and strategic collaboration with Moffitt Cancer Center to develop multi-targeted chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR T) immunotherapies for patients with AML and B-cell malignancies developed by Dr. Marco Davila. As part of the collaboration, Atara also gained exclusive access to novel CAR T targeting and co-stimulation domains designed to improve T-cell proliferation and enhance persistence. This agreement furthers the Company’s strategy to develop next-generation engineered CAR T immunotherapies across multiple therapeutic areas and leverage the Company’s off-the-shelf, allogeneic T-cell immunotherapy platform.
In 2020, Atara and Bayer entered into an exclusive worldwide license agreement and research, development, and manufacturing collaboration for mesothelin-directed CAR T-cell therapies for the treatment of solid tumors. The agreement includes the development candidate ATA3271, an armored allogeneic T-cell immunotherapy, and an autologous version, ATA2271, for high mesothelin-expressing tumors such as malignant pleural mesothelioma and non-small-cell lung cancer. The licensed technology leverages Atara´s novel, proprietary Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) T-cell platform combined with CAR T technologies targeting mesothelin with the goal to improve efficacy, persistence, safety, and durability of response.
In 2020, Atara entered into a research collaboration with CareDx to develop a novel and precise Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) method for detection and quantitation of allogeneic T cells in peripheral blood and described its use in non-engineered allogeneic T cells. This method offers potential applications in correlating pharmacokinetic (PK) profiles for non-engineered T cells (such as tab-cel® and ATA188) with response and other endpoints of interest to clinical development.