Using Cell Therapies for Cancer and Beyond

Jennifer Buell, PhD, president and chief operating officer of Agenus, discussed cell therapy for multiple myeloma and COVID-19 respiratory distress.

“We're going to expand on the acute respiratory distress program... secondary to COVID... no one spoke about respiratory distress before COVID, and now we're seeing the real damaging effects of it... We are working... in advancing [cell therapies] in patients with infectious disease and ARDS. These cells...can repair lung tissue and dampen those pro-inflammatory cytokines that have been so challenging in patients with COVID.”

MiNK Therapeutics (formerly AgenTus Therapeutics), a subsidiary of Agenus, is targeting multiple indications with its cell therapies. Their 3 leading clinical programs are in cancers, including hematologic malignancies and solid tumors, graft-versus-host disease, and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

A phase 2 clinical trial (NCT04754100) is currently evaluating AgenT-797, an allogeneic unmodified invariant natural killer T cell therapy for the treatment of relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma. The first patient was dosed in April 2021. The trial is evaluating the safety, tolerability, and preliminary clinical activity of agenT-797, with safety, dose correlation to adverse events, and finding a recommended dose as primary outcomes. The same agent is also being investigated for the treatment of ARDS in COVID-19.

GeneTherapyLive spoke with Agenus’s president and chief operating officer, Jennifer Buell, PhD, to learn more about the company’s clinical programs. She also discussed future research and plans for the company.

REFERENCE
Agenus doses first cancer patient with iNKT cell therapy. News release. Agenus. April 14, 2021. Accessed August 5, 2021. https://investor.agenusbio.com/index.php/news-releases/news-release-details/agenus-doses-first-cancer-patient-inkt-cell-therapy