Chimeric Therapeutics Limited (ASX:CHM) Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Chow talks about the company’s licensing of a novel, third-generation CDH17 CAR T cell therapy from the University of Pennsylvania, its recent FDA IND clearance and plans for ongoing growth.
Melissa Darmawan: Hello. Melissa Darmawan for the Finance News Network. Joining me from Chimeric Therapeutics (ASX:CHM) is Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Chow. Jennifer, nice to see you again and welcome back to the network.
Jennifer Chow: Thank you so much, Melissa. It’s great to see you again as well.
Melissa Darmawan: It’s great to have you. For those tuning in for the first time, could you give us an introduction to the company?
Jennifer Chow: I would love to, Melissa. So Chimeric Therapeutics is a clinical-stage company. We were listed on the ASX under “CHM” in January of this year, so just about seven months ago. And we have grown quickly, and we thank everybody for their support to make that happen. Our mission is really around bringing the promise of cell therapy to life for more patients. And, for us, what that really means is we’re looking to discover, develop and commercialise the most promising cell therapies for patients with cancer.
Melissa Darmawan: Thanks, Jennifer. Can you tell us about the new CDH17 CAR T cell therapy that you licensed and why you’re so excited about it?
Jennifer Chow: So, the CDH17 CAR T cell therapy, it’s a novel third-generation cell therapy that we licensed from the University of Pennsylvania. And the University of Pennsylvania is arguably one of the top cell therapy centres in the world. And this particular CAR was invented by a scientist who has been there for about 20 years, and he is a leading cell therapy scientist. What made us incredibly excited to be able to license this particular therapy is the preclinical efficacy and safety that we saw. We saw, with the preclinical efficacy, complete eradication of all tumour cells and absolutely no relapse. So, we were thrilled to be able to have the exclusive licence to that particular CAR T therapy.
Melissa Darmawan: Can you tell us when you’ll be taking it to clinical trials?
Jennifer Chow: Phase one clinical trials are planned right now for 2022. There’s actually been a decade of work that has happened on this particular CAR T therapy at the University of Pennsylvania before we licensed it. And because of what we saw in the preclinical models that I was just talking about, that incredible efficacy, we’re actually going to be able to take it into four different tumour types at the same time, neuroendocrine tumours, colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, and gastric cancer. So, incredibly excited to be able to move this into trials next year.
Melissa Darmawan: Does this new CDH17 CAR T cell therapy then change your focus from CLTX CAR T?
Jennifer Chow: Thank you for the question. It’s a great question, Melissa. And absolutely not. So, our team remains incredibly focused on the development of our chlorotoxin CAR T, really the CAR T that Chimeric was founded on. In fact, last week we were incredibly excited to be able to announce that we received IND (Investigational New Drug) clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration, or the FDA, so that we’re able to actually move ahead with more advanced development on chlorotoxin. So, with that IND clearance, we’re now going to be able to open more clinical trial sites for our phase one clinical trial and move forward with our basket trial in other solid tumours.
Melissa Darmawan: Jennifer, you often talk about the difference that you think your team makes. Can you dive into the details around that?
Jennifer Chow: I’ve been in cancer development for a long time. And when I started in cell therapy, there were so many new things that I had to learn because of the unique nature of these therapies. So that’s why I truly believe it’s critical to have people involved in the development of cell therapies that have actually got that experience and expertise. And that’s really what our team brings forward. Our team has worked on over 25 cell therapy programs, and we’ve actually worked on four out of the five approved FDA CAR T cell therapies. And so I just think that that experience and that expertise that the team has allows us to really advance the development of our assets very rapidly.
Melissa Darmawan: Last question. You talk about Chimeric being focused on bringing the promise of cell therapy to life for patients. What does that mean to you?
Jennifer Chow: That actually means everything to me, to be honest with you, Melissa. That really is what drives me. And it’s actually what brought me to Chimeric. I count myself as being very fortunate. I’ve been able to meet patients that have actually had CAR T therapies, and I’ve heard… You know, they’ve been very open and willing to share their story. And they’ll tell you that they were sent home by their oncologist. They were told there was nothing else that could be done for them, to go home and get their affairs in order. And then sort of as a very last sort of offering, they were told maybe you could try a CAR T therapy, it’s in clinical trials. And then four and five years later, their cancer has not come back. They’re still cancer free. They’re alive, they’re thriving. And they’re sending you pictures of being on vacation with their family at Disneyland. And so, you know, I think it’s that piece that really for us is what we think is the promise of cell therapy. It’s having patients not only survive cancer a couple more months, but actually thrive, and years later be told that, you know, well, it looks like you’re still cured. So, for us, that’s really what our mission is all about. It’s about bringing that for more patients with cancer.
Melissa Darmawan: Jennifer Chow, thank you so much for the update. I look forward to hearing from you with your next one.
Jennifer Chow: Thank you so much, Melissa. It was great catching up with you.
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