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United States : CANCER Drugs with On-Off Switch developed by Ziopharm

August 1, 2014

Biopharmaceutical firm Ziopharm Oncology declared that it has expanded its synthetic immuno-oncology programs with Intrexon Corp to develop cancer drugs that can be switched on or off with an oral pill.

The company revealed that it will begin working on chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy with Intrexon and will progress its development attempts with the RheoSwitch Therapeutic System (RTS) platform. RTS is Intrexon s inducible regulator for the expression of therapeutic molecules using an oral activator ligand. Intrexon will offer automation of the synthetic gene-making process. Ziopharm will work with RheoSwitch for its clinical program for Ad-RTS-IL-12, a unique DNA-based therapeutic candidate for regulated expression of interleukin-12 (IL-12). IL-12 is a significant protein for triggering anti-cancer T-cell immune response.

Recently, the company introduced pre-clinical and clinical results of Ad-RTS-IL-12, which was found to be associated the decrease of cancer stem cells in the brain at the 17th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT), held previous May in Washington.

Ziopharm said that while it has proven RTS on-off switch with Ad-RTS-IL-12, it will investigate CAR-T drugs to target solid tumors and blood cancers. Other firms utilize technology that lastingly turns off CAR-T drugs using what is known as a suicide gene . Using the RTS can assist make easy precise regulation of systemic effects of cell therapies for improved safety and efficacy.

Samuel Broder, EVP of Scientific and Public Affairs at Intrexon, said, Intrexon is applying industrial engineering principles to synthetic immunology to potentiate important biotechnology platforms enabling end-to-end solutions for complex biologic challenges. In particular, the utilization of our proprietary RheoSwitch platform may be especially advantageous in CAR-T treatments.

Dr. Jonathan Lewis, CEO of Ziopharm, said, We are excited by the prospects of applying our advanced synthetic immuno-oncology toolkit towards targeted immunotherapies like CAR-T. We also look forward to expanding RTS applications in novel therapeutic strategies for cancer where the ability to control gene expression is essential.

The companies said they will release a progress update on the program in the second half of 2014.

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Source: TendersInfo (India)

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