Mont-Saint-Guibert, Belgium – Celyad (Euronext Brussels and Paris, and NASDAQ: CYAD), a leader in the discovery and development of engineered cell therapies, with clinical programs in cardiovascular diseases and immuno-oncology, today announced that an oral presentation titled “Validation of Manufacturing NKG2D Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cells for a First-in Human Trial in AML/MDS and Multiple Myeloma” will be made at the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy (ASGCT) 19th Annual Meeting May 4-7 in Washington DC.
Dr. Frédéric Lehmann, Head of Immuno-Oncology at Celyad: “We are pleased that the application to present the validation of our cell manufacturing process was selected for an oral presentation. It highlights the importance and interest in our NKR-2 clinical program marking a positive step forward. This technology has great potential and we are looking forward to completing the Phase I.”
About Celyad’s NKR-T program
NKR stands for Natural Killer Receptor. NKG2D CAR T-cells are now called NKR-2 T-cells and the product development name is NKR-2.
Existing CAR-T cells are engineered using constructs encoding an antibody single chain variable fragment, the signaling domain of CD3 zeta and one or more co-stimulatory domain(s). In contrast to existing CAR-T cells, Celyad’s lead immuno-oncology product candidate, NKR-2, is a T-Cell encoded to express the human Natural Killer activating receptor, NKG2D. Using the human Natural Killer cell receptor, unlike traditional CAR technologies, has the potential to:
- Bind to 8 different ligands that are expressed by a vast majority of cancer cells, both hemaetological and solid malignancies.
- Target and kill tumors as well as the blood vessels that feed them and also express the ligands of the NKG2D receptor.
- Target and kill the inhibitory mechanisms preventing the tumor from evading the immune system.
- Induces adaptive auto-immune response thanks to the creation of a long term cell memory against the targeted tumor.
The research underlying this technology was originally conducted by Dartmouth College Professor Charles Sentman, and has been published in numerous peer-reviewed publications. NKR-2 has an active Investigational New Drug (IND) application with the FDA for a Phase I clinical trial. The full data readout from the Phase I dose escalation trial is expected in mid-2016. The trial is designed to assess the safety and feasibility of NKR-2 in acute myeloid leukemia and multiple myeloma patients, with secondary endpoints including clinical activity. The safety follow-up period post-infusion has been decreased to 21 days after approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Institutional Review Board (IRB).