Autolus Therapeutics (NASDAQ: AUTL) told investors Monday that Dr. Claire Roddie, an honorary senior lecturer with the Cancer Institute of the University College London presented promising initial data from a Phase 1/2 trial evaluating its AUTO1 CAR-T therapy in adults with acute lymphoblastic B cell leukemia this week.
After one month, eight of the nine leukemia patients who could be evaluated in the study reported a molecular complete response or no evidence of cancer via CT or PET imaging, according to Dr Roddie who delivered her presentation at the American Association for Cancer Research's annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.
“AUTO1 delivered promising early remission rates, CAR T cell expansion and persistence in this adult ALL trial cohort,” said Dr Roddie in a statement. “Despite enrolling patients with high tumor burden the safety profile in the trial appears to compare very favorably to other CD 19 CARs and is consistent with the safety profile of AUTO 1 observed in pediatric patients in the CARPALL trial.”
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No patients who took part in the trial were admitted to the intensive care unit due to cytokine release syndrome, a problematic side-effect of CAR T cancer therapies. But four participants died while on the study, two from the progression of leukemia and two from sepsis, a common complication of leukemia.
In a statement, Dr. Krishna Komanduri, a director of the Adult Stem Cell Transplant program at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, was also bullish on the results.
"These data from the ALLCAR19 study of AUTO1 in relapsed refractory ALL, while early, are extremely encouraging, with a high response rate we now associate with CAR T cell therapies, but with a potentially improved safety profile,” Komanduri said.
Autolus’s management team will field questions about the results in a conference call on April 2.
Compared to current CD 19 CAR T cell therapies, Autolus believes AUTO1 may reduce toxicity and be less prone to T cell exhaustion, which could improve T cells' abilities to engage in the killing of target cancer cells.
Headquartered in London, Autolus is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing T cell therapies for the treatment of cancer. It’s also a portfolio company of Arix Bioscience PLC (LON:ARIX), a venture capital company focused on investing in and building biotech companies.
Autolus shares rose 3.3% to $31.30 in after-hours trade Monday.
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