Have you heard of Car T? If you’re new to biotechnology, you may be wondering what I’m talking about. Don’t worry, after reading. You’ll be an expert about this technology, disrupting the way we look at healthcare and treat patients. CAR T is short for Chimeric Antigen Receptor T cells, cells removed from a patient, engineered, and administered back to target their cancer or disease.
This technology is starting to get traction, where many biotech companies are engineering these T cells to target specific cancers and solid tumors. Car T are usually engineered to be armed receptors targeting CD22 or CD19 before they become cancer-killing machines.
Where do we see the industry heading? Well, if you look at drug approvals to date, we see Gilead’s Yescarta and Novartis’s Kymriah treating patients who have non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Soon Celgene’s lisocabtagene maraleucel (liso-cel), an anti CD19 drug, may take over the lymphoma market with the data submitted to ASH Annual Meeting. The data provided shows that in 255 patients, they had a complete response rate of 53% and an overall response rate in 73% in patients. They are beating the response rate of Gilead by 20 percentage points on Kymriah and two percentage points on Yescarta, outcompeting its competitors in the field.
Toxicity also showed better data than its competitors. There were only four patients that faced adverse effects (died) from this clinical trial.
Analyst predicts the drug to be approved by the FDA in 2020; a no brainer when your drug is beating other CAR- Ts that are marketed to patients. A positive outlook for Celgene that sees approval for their drug, but they still face some challenges. The biggest problem is manufacturing CAR T cells fast. It takes an average of 24 days to engineer and manufacture a T cell for patients. Those 24 days may be the difference between life or death.
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