Pharma Focus Asia

Abelzeta Pharma and Astrazeneca Announce Collaboration for the Joint Development of an Original Glypican 3 (GPC3) Armored CAR-T Therapy in China

Friday, December 08, 2023

AbelZeta Pharma Inc., a global clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company specializing in innovative cell therapies for cancer, inflammatory, and immunological diseases, has recently announced a partnership with AstraZeneca to jointly develop C-CAR031. This autologous, armored GPC3-targeting chimeric antigen receptor T Cells (CAR-T) therapy is designed for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and is based on AstraZeneca's novel GPC3-targeting CAR-T (AZD5851), utilizing their transforming growth factor-beta receptor II (TGFβRII) dominant negative armoring discovery platform. The therapy is manufactured by AbelZeta in China.

Hepatocellular carcinoma is a prevalent cancer and a leading cause of cancer-related deaths in China, constituting about 50% of the global new cases annually, with approximately 45% of HCC-related deaths occurring in greater China.

Under the agreement, AstraZeneca will make an upfront payment to AbelZeta for the co-development and commercialization of C-CAR031 in China. Additionally, AbelZeta stands to receive milestone payments and royalties for the global development of AZD5851, for which AstraZeneca is solely responsible for development, manufacturing, and commercialization outside of China.

At the AACR 2023, AbelZeta presented preliminary data from an investigator-initiated trial in China, revealing promising anti-tumor activity and robust pharmacokinetics (PK) and pharmacodynamic (PD) profiles for C-CAR031 in advanced HCC patients.

Tony (Bizuo) Liu, Chairman and CEO of AbelZeta, expressed enthusiasm about the collaboration, highlighting the potential of this CAR-T therapy to redefine therapeutic approaches for advanced HCC and other GPC3-expressing solid tumors.

Mark Cobbold, Vice President, Head Cell Therapy, Oncology R&D at AstraZeneca, emphasized that the collaboration accelerates the exploration of their innovative armoring CAR-T platform in solid tumors, aligning with their goal to bring novel cell therapies to individuals facing challenging-to-treat cancers.

Providing context on HCC, liver cancer ranks as the third-leading cause of cancer death globally, with HCC being the most common form among adults. The majority of cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage, leading to poor prognosis and low survival rates.

This collaboration represents a significant step forward in advancing therapeutic solutions for HCC and underscores the commitment of both companies to address the challenges posed by this prevalent and life-threatening cancer.



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