Cell Therapy
Collaborations, Mergers & Acquisitions

Umoja and Lupagen Collaboration Drives Improved Delivery for Next Generation in vivo CAR-T

Anna Osborne
24 May 2022
The immune-oncology company Umoja Biopharma, has announced they have entered into collaboration with the gene therapy company Lupagen, who’s Side CAR-T™ extracorporeal gene delivery system will support the administration of Umoja’s in vivo CAR-T therapeutic system to patients with cancer.

“This partnership seeks to transform patient care by pairing Lupagen’s novel extracorporeal gene delivery technology with Umoja’s next-generation in vivo therapeutics to revolutionize cancer treatment. The familiarity of healthcare providers with extracorporeal bedside procedures will enable greater uptake and access to life-changing therapies across a wider range of patients. We look forward to working with Umoja to enhance the potential of their VivoVec particles with the highly controlled targeted delivery Lupagen’s technology can offer,” commented David Peritt, Chief Scientific Officer, and co-founder of Lupagen.

Umoja has pioneered off-the-shelf integrated therapeutics to re-program patient T cells in vivo for targeting solid and hematological malignancies.

The viral vector, VivoVec, delivery platform acts in vivo through the patient’s lymphatic system to administer the cell reprogramming system, RACR/CAR  and, the TumourTag system.

The RACR/CAR system genetically engineers the patients immune T cells to produce cancer-fighting CAR-T cells. Cell expansion is controlled by the physician through the RACR/CAR payload architecture.

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Simultaneously, the TumourTag system once delivered ‘tags’ cancer cells to be recognized by CAR-T cells for a more precise and potent attack, overcoming the immune-evading nature of cancer cells. Being a universal cancer tag allows for the administration of Umoja’s therapeutic regimen to treat any tumor type.

Working synergistically these processes eliminate the need for a pre-conditioning step, such as the lymphodepleting chemotherapy, in patients, reducing the complexity of ex vivo CAR-T administration. It will also reduce the delays and expenses experienced during the external manufacturing of cellular therapies.

“Today’s cellular therapies are often hampered by lengthy delays to patient treatment with a weeks-to-months wait for cell manufacturing and release. Pairing Lupagen’s technology with Umoja’s in vivo therapeutics offers a compelling solution to one of the greatest challenges to receiving cellular therapies today,” said David Fontana, Chief Business and Strategy Officer at Umoja.

Lupagen’s first-in-class gene delivery system Side CAR-T™ will allow for efficient and highly controlled delivery of VivoVec to target T cells, in a convenient patient-connected bedside procedure.

Side CAR-T™ aims to reduce the cost and complexities of cell therapies, as well as minimising the safety and clinical challenges of administrating viral-based gene therapies.

The agreement between these two companies prevents Lupagen from developing or commercializing Side CAR-T™ elsewhere in the field of oncology for the agreed term of the contract, with Umoja retaining the right to opt into an exclusive and worldwide agreement to develop Side CAR-T™ as its VivoVec delivery system in oncology.

Source: Umoja Press Release

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