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By Carlo Martuscelli
GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK.LN) said Tuesday that it has partnered with San Francisco-based biotechnology company Lyell Immunopharma to develop its cell therapy pipeline, with a special focus on solid tumors.
The five-year collaboration aims at using Lyell's technology to strengthen the efficacy of its existing cell therapy program, the FTSE 100 drugmaker said.
Glaxo said that it hopes that using Lyell's technology, it can improve the fitness of T cells, a type of white blood cell.
Unlike other medicines, cell therapies use living cells that are extracted and modified to fight disease. Existing cell therapies on the market, Kymriah and Yescarta, are only approved for blood cancers.
The British company said that so far, T cell exhaustion has posed an obstacle to adapting to cell therapies to solid tumors.
"Lyell is exploring several approaches to improving T cell function and increasing T cell 'fitness' to enhance initial response rates in solid tumour cancers and to prevent relapses due to loss of T cell functionality," said Glaxo's chief scientific officer and president of research, Hal Barron.
In March 2018, the company sold its gene-therapy division Strimvelis to Orchard Therapeutics PLC. However it retained its cell therapy research program, which was largely based around a collaboration with Adaptimmune Therapeutics PLC which began in 2014.
The lead asset to emerge from the program was GSK3377794, a T-cell therapy currently in phase 2 clinical trial as a potential treatment for relapsed or refractory synovial sarcoma. Glaxo said the asset is also under investigation for a range of other cancers, including non-small cell lung cancer and multiple myeloma.
Write to Carlo Martuscelli at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 08, 2019 11:11 ET (15:11 GMT)
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