MONT-SAINT-GUIBERT, Belgium, Jan. 09, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Celyad (Euronext Brussels:CYAD) (Euronext Paris:CYAD) (NASDAQ:CYAD), a leader in the discovery and development of engineered cell-based therapies, announced today that the U.S. Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) has decided to uphold Celyad’s U.S. Patent No. 9,181,527, relating to allogeneic human primary T-cells that are engineered to be TCR-deficient and express a CAR.
“We are pleased with the outcome of this re-examination of our patent related to the production of allogeneic TCR-deficient CAR-T cells. This marks the third decision by the USPTO to uphold this patent, which thus remains valid and enforceable, and provides for continued intellectual property protection for this valuable asset,” said Philippe Dechamps, Chief Legal Officer of Celyad.
“Allogeneic CAR T-cells are a promising avenue to broaden the scope of application of cell based immunotherapy,” said Georges Rawadi, VP Business Development and IP of Celyad. “We look forward to the further development of our own allogeneic programs and also continue to offer other parties access to this important patent to advance the field more broadly.”
Celyad’s U.S. patent (No. 9,181,527), and more precisely claim 1 of the said patent, was challenged by an anonymous third party through an Ex Parte Re-examination procedure. The request for Ex Parte re-examination was filed on February 10th, 2016 and an order granting Ex Parte Re-examination of claim 1 was issued by the USPTO on March 24th, 2016. The final decision of this Ex Parte procedure that was issued on January 6th, 2017 is not subject to appeal and upholds the validity of the patent.
Therefore, Celyad’s U.S. patent (No. 9,181,527), confirms continued coverage of CAR-expressing human T-cells, according to Claim 1, modified to reduce or eliminate T-cell receptor expression or function.
Celyad is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of specialized cell-based therapies. The Company utilizes its expertise in cell engineering to target severe diseases with significant unmet need, including cancer. Celyad’s Natural Killer Receptor based T-Cell (NKR-T) platform has the potential to treat a broad range of solid and liquid tumors. Its lead oncology candidate, the CAR-T NKR-2, has been evaluated in a single dose escalation Phase I clinical trial to assess the safety and feasibility of NKR-2 T-cells in patients suffering from AML or MM. This Phase I study was successfully completed in September 2016. Celyad was founded in 2007 and is based in Mont-Saint-Guibert, Belgium, and Boston, Massachusetts. Celyad’s ordinary shares are listed on the Euronext Brussels and Euronext Paris exchanges, and its American Depository Shares are listed on NASDAQ Global Market, all under the ticker symbol CYAD.
For more information about Celyad, please visit: www.celyad.com
About Celyad’s NKR-T Cell Platform
Celyad is developing a unique CAR-T cell platform, using Natural Killer Receptor (NKR) transduced on to T lymphocytes. The platform targets a wide range of solid and hematological tumors. Unlike traditional CAR-T cell therapy, which target only one tumor antigen, Natural Killer (NK) cell receptors enable a single receptor to recognize multiple tumor antigens.
Celyad’s lead candidate, NKR-2, is a CAR-T-Cell engineered to express the human NK receptor, NKG2D, which is an activating receptor that triggers cell killing through the binding of NKG2D to any of eight naturally occurring ligands that are known to be overexpressed on more than 80% of tumors.
Preclinical results indicate that NKR-2 has multiple mechanisms of actions and goes beyond direct killing by signifying that its encoded T-Cells attack the tumor cells, inhibits the mechanisms that enable tumors to evade the immune system, activates and recruit anti-tumor immune cells and disrupts the blood supply to the tumor. These mechanisms promote the induction of adaptive immunity, meaning the body develops a long-term cell immune memory against specific tumor antigens of the targeted tumor.
In contrast to traditional CAR-T therapeutic approaches, and based on strong preclinical evidence, Celyad’s current NKR-2 program does not employ patient lymphodepleting pre-conditioning, thereby avoiding the toxicities associated with chemotherapy and allowing the immune system to remain intact.
Celyad is developing both autologous and allogeneic NKR-2 administrations. For autologous NKR-2, Celyad collects the patient’s own T-Cells and engineers them to express NKG2D in order to target cancer cells effectively. Celyad’s allogeneic platform engineers the T-Cells of healthy donors, that also express TCR Inhibitory Molecules (TIMs), to avoid having the engineered donor cells be rejected by the patient’s normal tissues (also called Graft vs. Host Disease).
The preclinical research underlying this technology was originally conducted at Dartmouth College by Dr. Charles Sentman and has been published extensively in peer-reviewed publications.