—Cell Therapy Startup Spun Out of Baylor College of Medicine by Two CPRIT Scholars Awarded Non-Dilutive Funding for Novel Therapy for High-Need Cancer Patients—
HOUSTON, Nov. 17, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- March Biosciences (March Bio), a clinical stage biotechnology company committed to combating challenging cancers unresponsive to existing immunotherapies, today announced that it has received a notice of award for a major competitive grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) to help support continued clinical development of its innovative chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy for the treatment of relapsed and refractory CD5 positive T-cell cancers. The approximately $13.4 million product development award is intended to support March Bio's upcoming Phase 2 clinical trial of MB-105 for the treatment of relapsed and refractory T-cell lymphomas.
MB-105 is currently being assessed in a Phase 1 clinical trial in patients with relapsed and refractory T-cell malignancies at Baylor College of Medicine. This grant follows a $4.8 million investment from the Cancer Focus Fund announced earlier this month also to support the MB-105 Phase 2 trial.
"We are committed to advancing MB-105 and creating a best and first-in-class therapy for patients with these difficult cancers," commented Sarah Hein, cofounder and CEO of March Biosciences. "We expect that receipt of this substantial non-dilutive award from CPRIT will serve as a catalyst to our current financing activities and allow us to continue to move quickly to advance MB-105 as a novel treatment for patients seeking better options."
Patients with T-cell malignancies face a dismal prognosis once their disease becomes relapsed or refractory to first-line therapies and have extremely limited continuing treatment options, resulting in just 15% survival over about 3 years. The development of specific therapies for these indications is difficult due to the fact that many potential targets, including the CD5 receptor targeted by MB-105, are present on both normal and malignant T-cells, which means that therapies targeting malignant T-cells risk damaging the healthy T-cells needed for normal immunity.
Since CD5 is widely expressed by both normal and malignant T-cells, the MB-105 CD5 CAR-T cell therapy has been specifically engineered to preserve many healthy T-cells while maintaining potency against CD5 positive tumor T-cells. In an ongoing Phase 1 trial conducted at the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston Methodist Hospital, and Texas Chidren's Hospital, MB-105 has demonstrated a favorable safety profile and encouraging early efficacy results in patients with both relapsed and refractory T-cell lymphoma and T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
March Biosciences was cofounded with inventors Drs. Max Mamonkin and Malcolm Brenner, leading scientists from the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy who are both recipients of CPRIT research awards. Dr. Mamonkin is an Associate Professor at Baylor and serves as Chief Scientific Officer at March Biosciences. He was recently awarded the Outstanding New Innovator Award by the American Society for Cell and Gene Therapy. Dr. Brenner is a renowned leader in the field, with an extensive history of technology invention contributing to the launch of both private and public biotechnology companies. He serves as an advisor to cell therapy companies across the industry.
Dr. Mamonkin commented, "The treatment of T-cell lymphomas and leukemias has been particularly challenging, which led us to focus on the development of this new approach early on. We have been highly encouraged by the clinical results we have already seen, and I am pleased that CPRIT has recognized the potential importance of these efforts to patients and will support the continued development of the CD5 CAR-T approach."
March Bio is currently preparing for its Phase 2 trials of MB-105 with a development collaboration with recent CPRIT awardee, CTMC, a joint venture between MD Anderson Cancer Center and National Resilience.
About March Biosciences
Houston-based March Biosciences, launched from the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy (Baylor Medical School, Houston Methodist Hospital, Texas Children's Hospital), is dedicated to addressing challenging cancers unresponsive to current immunotherapies. Its lead asset, MB-105, is a CD5-targeted CAR-T cell therapy currently in Phase I trials in patients with refractory T-cell lymphoma and leukemia, with promising signals of efficacy and safety to date. A Phase 2 trial is expected to begin next year. The company was incubated by the CPRIT-supported Accelerator for Cancer Therapeutics, with a seed funding round co-led by the Texas Medical Center Venture Fund (TMC Ventures) and Portal Innovations. Learn more at www.march.bio.
Created by the Texas Legislature and approved by a statewide vote in 2007, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) leads the Lone Star State's fight against cancer. In 2019, Texas voters again voted overwhelmingly to support CPRIT with an additional $3 billion, for a total $6 billion investment in cancer research and prevention. To date, the agency has awarded more than $3 billion in grants to Texas research institutions and organizations through its academic research, prevention, and product development research programs. CPRIT has also recruited 302 distinguished researchers to Texas, supported the establishment, expansion, or relocation of 62 companies to Texas, and supported 9.3 million prevention services reaching all 254 counties in Texas. Learn more about CPRIT at www.cprit.texas.gov
This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including those related to the clinical development of MB-105 and other potential therapies. Actual results may differ materially from those projected in these forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include, but are not limited to, the progress of clinical trials, regulatory approvals, market demand for new therapies, and competitive dynamics in the biotechnology sector.
Chief Executive Officer
BLL Partners for March Bio
SOURCE March Biosciences