We are developing CMD-601 for the treatment of pancreatic, ovarian, stomach and potentially other cancers. CMD-601 is an autologous cell therapy targeting the survivin cancer antigen which is widely expressed on a range of solid tumors. Currently in the preclinical stages of development, CMD-601 is comprised of immune cells that have been genetically modified to express a novel T cell receptor (TCR) recognizing a peptide derived from the survivin protein.
Survivin is an intracellular tumor-associated antigen that inhibits cellular apoptosis and plays a crucial role in maintaining tumor cell phenotype and functions. Survivin is highly expressed in many human tumors and fetal tissue, but is mostly absent in normal adult tissue where it is only expressed briefly during cell division. Published work by Prof. Gianpietro Dotti and Barbara Savoldo, who are working with Cell Medica on this project as part of the Baylor College of Medicine collaboration, has shown that this TCR uniquely targets tumor cells, but spares healthy T cells.1
Around 338,000 patients are newly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer annually and about 330,000 patients will die from the disease globally . Survivin is overexpressed in 70%2 of these patients. CMD-601 targets the survivin cancer antigen in patients with HLA type A2, representing about 40%3 of the patients. If successful, we are planning to expand the application of CMD-601 into gastric cancer and ovarian cancer which affect 952,000 and 239,000 patients each year respectively with survivin overexpression of 40% to 70%.
We are using our TCR technology to target survivin and selected pancreatic cancer as the lead indication for CMD-601. Additionally, we plan to test CMD-601 in gastric cancer and ovarian cancer.