Where Does The Future Lies In The Chinese CAR-T Market?

Where Does The Future Lies In The Chinese CAR-T Market?

In 2017, a series of events have drawn national and international attentions to CAR-T therapy, making it one of the hottest topic of the year.

In January, Shanghai Fosun and Kite Pharma has formed a joint venture, with each holding 50% stake.

In February, Juno has announced to discontinue its JCAR015 trail and began to shift the development to its pipeline candidates, JCAR017 and JCAR014 instead.

In March, Servier, Pfizer, and Cellectis have won the nod from FDA to their IND application of the generic CAR-T therapy UCART19 for treating patients with relapsed and refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

In June, a slew of world famous CAR-T companies has released their promising data during the ASCO annual conference.

The principle of CAR-T, chimeric antigen receptor T cell, is to first isolate T cells from a patient, then genetically engineer these T cells to identify and kill specific tumor cells, and eventually infuse them back to the patient to fight cancer cells. Because of its innovativeness and reliability, CAR-T has attracted immediate attentions since its birth.

The global market for CAR-T therapy is expected to reach 8.5 billion by 2028, noted in a report from Cohere Market Insights. China is one of its important markets, and the nation has already included it as one of the goals in the “one three five” development plan.

According to the searching result from American Clinical Trails, a total of 109 CAR-T clinical trials has been registered and carried out in China, larger than the trail number in Europe and following right after America. It is obvious that China has already become a strong competitor in the global CAR-T market.

In this article, I am going to discuss all major and known CAR-T companies in China.

Cellular Biomedicine Group

Cellular Biomedicine Group, founded in 2009, has a strong focus on developing cell therapy technologies, with immunoncology cellular therapy and stem cell therapy being its top targets. It has successfully completed its IPO on Nasdaq in 2014, becoming the first Chinese cellular therapy biomedicine company enlisted in the US.

Cellular Biomedicine Group’s CAR-T trials are mainly focused on Phase I and Phase II, including the following products.

CBM-C19.1: Acute B cell lymphocytic leukemia
CBM-C201.: Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
CBM-c30.1: Hodgkin’s lymphoma
CBM-EGFR.1: solid tumors

In February 2015, Cellular Biomedicine Group has acquired 4 candidates from Dr. Weidong Han at 301 Military Hospital with 177 million and formed a strategic partnership with 301 Hospital to continue developing CAR-T therapies used for leukemia and solid tumors jointly.

Nanjing Legend Biotech

Nanjing Legend Biotech, established in 2014 and affiliated with Genscript, is the dark horse at this year’s ASCO annual conference. Currently, it is focusing on developing CAR-T therapies for multiple myeloma and has shown very promising data.

LCAR-B38M is one of Nanjing Legend Biotech’s CAR-T candidates targeting at BCMA and has been showed to be safe and effective in treating patients with relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma. Researchers report that in an ongoing early phase trial in China, 33 out of 35 (94%) patients have observed that their multiple myelomas have relapsed within two months of receiving LCAR-B38M.

CARsgen Therapeutics

CARsgen Therapeutics, founded in 2014, has invented multiple CAR-T therapies against solid tumors. It currently has a complete platform starting from hybridoma and phage display technologies all the way to antibody humanization and human antibody screening; this enables them to optimize their antibodies’ specificity and function further.

To reduce the effects of complex immune environment when treating patients with solid tumors using CAR-T, CARsgen strives to improve CAR-T’s tumor killing effects through combining chemokine receptors and cytokines, such as IL-12, to strengthen the native and adaptive immunity.

CARsgen Therapeutics currently has many clinical phase 1 trials, including the first CAR-T therapy for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and the first for glioblastoma tumor (GBM) in the world.

Persongen

Persongen is one of the first companies saw the potential of immunocellular treatments and have successfully developed the first CAR-T/CAR-NK therapy platform in China. In June 2015, Anke Biotechnology has invested more than 3 million in Persongen, translating into 15% stake, while transferring parts of its cellular therapy technology, products, and research results to Persongen.

Nowadays, Persongen has successfully established several CAR-T pipelines, its targets including CD19, CD18, CEA, HER2, etc.

Persongen’s main products and technologies cover following: 1) Cellular therapy and products: CAR-T, CAR-NK, CTL, and DC-CTL; 2) Antibody drugs: checkpoint biologics, nanobody, etc.

Currently, they have 3 products in phase 2 clinical trials, leading the pack within China.

Genechem

Genechem, founded in 2002, is developing comprehensive therapies by targeting the key genes in various diseases. In the recent years, they have shifted their emphasis to CAR-T therapy and strategized it as one of their primary candidates.

Genechem’s CAR-T technologies range from all four generations, with the second generation being the best, as it has been producing the optimal clinical results so far. On another note, they have already built multiple scFV-CAR libraries targeted at a number of leukemia and solid tumors.

Besides, Genechem has formed a long term partnership with Changhai Hospital to test its CD19-CART as a treatment for relapsed and refractory B-ALL, CLL, and B-BHL in clinical trials. The trial is currently registered at American Clinical Trail website and has recruited 14 patients; 12 out of the 14 patients were completely relieved after treatment.

Dasheng Bio

Daheng Bio started with developing immunoncology therapy and has gradually transitioned into a new strategy, with CAR-T being their leading technology and accompanied with developing CAR-NK, new DC vaccine, and iNKT at the meantime.

Currently, it has several CAR-T therapies in their pipelines, covering multiple disease fields, including multiple myeloma, adult and children B cell leukemia, B cell lymphoma, etc.

In February 2016, Dasheng Bio has successfully registered 3 clinical trials targeting at B cell lymphoma in ClinicalTrial website. Among them, MatchCAR trial has enrolled 15 patients with relapsed and refractory B cell lymphoma; 11 of them reached a complete relief. MeCAR has also recruited 10 relapsed and refractory B cell lymphoma patients; 8 of them have successfully infused their blood back.

Boruida biotech

Boruida, founded in September 2014, primarily emphasizes on the research and development of CAR-T therapies in clinical trials, currently having multiple candidates in its pipeline, including CD19, CD20, CD22, CD30, CD33, etc.

Boruida has established a complete platform to transition early stage researches into late stage clinical trials, and actively engages in developing next generation CAR-T technologies, which include the discovery of new CAR-T targets, such as CD123, BCMA, TIM3, etc, immunity strengthened CAR-T, modulatory CAR-T, etc. On another note, it is also dedicated to the discovery of new immunotherapies for other immune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, Ankylosing spondylitis, Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, etc.

In December 2016, Bo Rui Da has announced that it has received around 3 million investment from Huichen Investment.

Innovative Cellular Therapeutics

Innovative Cellular Therapeutics was founded by Dr. Lei Xiao, the receiver of the Chinese National Outstanding Youth Fund, in August 2009. It has applied for more than 30 patents in the field of cellular therapy and stem cell and genetic editing research in both China and the US.

Until August 2016, Innovative Cellular Therapeutics has partnered with several Chinese top-line hospitals and carried out a clinical trial. A total of 26 patients with acute leukemia were recruited, and among them, 21 patients have reached a complete relief and showed no sign of recurrence. Its complete relief rate has reached 80.8% and the total survival rate within 6 months is up to 69.0%.

On another note, Innovative Cellular Therapeutics is also exploring the possibility to treat relapsed and refractory lymphoma patients with CAR-T. Currently, it has treated two patients, and both of them have achieved a complete relief.

Conclusion:

Other than these companies mentioned above, there are a few others focusing on CAR-T therapy, including Shanghai Fosun, Vcan Bio, Cellres, etc. We can expect to see a higher growth in the Chinese CAR-T market in the coming years.

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