Improving on CIK CAR-T
BERWYN, Pa. & LIMERICK, Pa.—Formula Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Rockland Immunochemicals Inc. announced recently the establishment of a collaboration for the preclinical development of Formula’s cytokine induced killer cell-based chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) cancer immunotherapies—trademarked under the name C.I.K. CAR—at Rockland’s R&D facility. Under the collaboration, Rockland will provide and manage Formula’s specially hired preclinical research team. Further, Rockland will provide the classified research facilities for Formula’s preclinical development needs in its newly established, scalable 60,000-square-foot R&D facility.
Formula’s immunotherapy product pipeline is built upon a proprietary, nonviral, allogeneic C.I.K. CAR technology platform, which seeks to overcome practical and therapeutic limitations related to existing CAR T cell (CAR-T) approaches that include viral transfection, autologous blood and T cells. Formula’s C.I.K. CAR technology leverages T cell and natural killer cell functionality within one effector cell population sourced from healthy donor peripheral or cord blood, which the company is developing as an off-the-shelf CAR immunotherapy for hematologic and solid tumor indications.
“This collaboration is important and valuable to the development of these high-potential cancer therapies,” said Maurits W. Geerlings, president and CEO of Formula. “Rockland’s excellent R&D facilities and specialized research staff provide the most cost-effective and efficient way for developing and growing our product pipeline. Rockland can provide additional research support on an as-needed basis. We couldn’t have found a better approach for getting our preclinical R&D activities up and running within a very short period of time.”
“Rockland is excited that Formula Therapeutics chooses to rely on and to trust in our expertise in immunology, cell culture and molecular biology to conduct the research integral to the development of its cutting-edge immunotherapies,” said Jim Fendrick, president and CEO of Rockland Immunochemicals.
Geerlings added, “This collaboration further confirms the commitment of both companies to job growth and retention in the Greater Philadelphia region. We believe we can find the very best talent from industry and academia in this area.”
“The Formula-Rockland collaboration is an example of what makes Pennsylvania’s life-sciences community the world’s best,” said Christopher Molineaux, president and CEO of Pennsylvania Bio. “It’s a partnership in the efficient deployment of expertise, regardless of where it resides, to advance the next generation of cancer therapies. We are proud these two companies call Pennsylvania home, for their innovative spirit and for their focus on the end beneficiary: patients.”
“The Rockland-Formula relationship highlights the ‘Eds and Meds’ corridor that has developed in Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey and has great roots here in our communities,” Pennsylvania State Rep. Warren Kampf said. “Our region is creating high-paying, knowledge-based jobs to compete on the global stage. This is a positive sign for Pennsylvania and contains great possibilities.”
Formula Pharmaceuticals is a privately held, immuno-oncology focused company focused on the development of CAR immunotherapy for oncology and autoimmune diseases. Formula’s technology platform offers important opportunities for improvements to existing CAR-T approaches, with the objective to significantly increase patient access, clinical benefit potential and cost-effectiveness of manufacturing. Formula plans to develop proprietary and licensed targets in hematologic oncology and solid tumor indications on its own and in partnership with others.
Rockland Immunochemicals supports the academic, biopharma and diagnostic industries with antibodies and antibody-based tools used in basic research, assay development and preclinical studies. With facilities in Pennsylvania for over 50 years, Rockland manufactures products ideally suited for integration into critical assays such as western blotting, immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence microscopy, ELISA and flow cytometry.