Carisma Therapeutics and Moderna Nominate New Cancer Therapy Candidate

Carisma Therapeutics

PHILADELPHIA, PACarisma Therapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq: CARM) has announced the recent nomination of its first development candidate under a collaboration with Moderna, Inc. This candidate is an in vivo CAR-M targeting Glypican-3 (GPC3), aimed at treating solid tumors like hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). HCC is the most common type of liver cancer and the fastest-rising cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. This nomination triggers a $2 million milestone payment to Carisma.

The development candidate leverages Carisma’s expertise in engineering chimeric antigen receptor monocytes and macrophages (CAR-M) alongside Moderna’s mRNA and lipid nanoparticle platform. This combination aims to create a novel in vivo cell therapy for cancer treatment. Pre-clinical data have shown that the candidate can generate CAR-M cells directly in vivo, redirecting endogenous myeloid cells to target and destroy cancer cells.

“The nomination of the first development candidate demonstrates our productive collaboration with Moderna to develop mRNA-based in vivo CAR-M cell therapies,” said Michael Klichinsky, PharmD, PhD, Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer at Carisma. “The candidate targets GPC3, a tumor antigen highly expressed in HCC. This milestone is a significant step forward in developing immunotherapies for solid tumors and advancing the field of in vivo cell therapy.”

Lin Guey, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer of Therapeutics Research Ventures and Biotherapeutics at Moderna, added, “We are thrilled with the significant progress we’ve made in advancing in vivo CAR-M therapies with Carisma. We eagerly anticipate further development of the nominated candidate for patients with solid tumors and look forward to continued success as we develop additional in vivo CAR-M therapies together.”

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The in vivo CAR-M program targeting GPC3 is part of a 2022 strategic collaboration agreement between Carisma and Moderna. This partnership aims to discover, develop, and commercialize in vivo engineered CAR-M therapeutics for cancer treatment. Besides this program, Moderna has nominated four other undisclosed oncology research targets under the collaboration. Carisma is responsible for discovering and optimizing development candidates, while Moderna will lead the development and commercialization of the resulting therapies.

This nomination marks a crucial milestone in the ongoing effort to create effective cancer treatments, combining cutting-edge technologies from both companies to combat one of the deadliest forms of cancer.

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