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Cancer cure: ImmunoAct to complete phase 2/3 trials of CAR-T cell therapy in 18 months

G Naga Sridhar | | Updated on: Jun 12, 2022
Concept image

Concept image

Sets up state of the art facility with ₹30 crore

ImmunoAct, a start-up incubated at IIT Bombay, has completed phase 1 clinical trials of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy to treat certain types of cancers, Leukaemia and Lymphoma.

The company, supported by Hyderabad-based Laurus Labs Ltd, has developed the technology from ideation to clinic-ready products. According to Rahul Purwar, Founder-Chairman, ImmunoAct, its first product, HCAR19, showed a ‘favourable balance’ of efficacy and toxicity.

“We hope to complete phase 2 and 3 trials concurrently in the next 18 to 24 months and if all goes well, we will be the first company to offer completely indigenous and humanised CAR-T-cell-based therapy to Leukaemia and Lymphoma patients,” Purwar told newspersons after inauguration of a state of the art GMP facility here. 

“We did not see any neuro toxicity in phase 1 trials which are conducted in association with Tata Hospitals,” Purwar said. The company is now working on necessary regulatory approval for phase 2 and 3 trials and is also in talks with major hospitals across the country to conduct them. 

Cancer treatment still remains a challenge as conventional therapies are leading to high mortality rate. The advanced CAR-T cells therapy costs about ₹3 to 4 crore per patient in the US and is not available in India.

“With our indigenously developed technology we can offer this in India at about ₹30 lakh per patient,” Purwar said. 

Satyanarayana Chava, Founder and CEO, Laurus Labs which holds about 30 per cent stake in ImmunoAct, said that preliminary data of the new technology of CAR-T cell therapy was encouraging. 

“This can provide treatment for about one-tenth of the present cost of treatment,” he said. 

“We, at Laurus Labs, are keen on investing 10 percent of our profits on disruptive technologies,” Chava added. 

In CAR-T cell therapy, immune cells called T cells (a type of white blood cell) are used to fight cancer by changing them in the lab so they can find and destroy cancer cells. Founded in 2018, ImmunoACT was incubated under the aegis of IIT-Bombay’s business incubator, SNIE.

(The reporter was in Mumbai at the invitation of Hyderabad-based Laurus Labs) 

Published on June 12, 2022
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