PureTech Health has launched Vor BioPharma, an immuno-oncology company dedicated to developing a new class of targeted cell therapies. The company, which is advancing a novel approach to chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, has licensed its core technology from the lab of Vor scientific co-founder, Siddhartha Mukherjee, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of Medicine at Columbia University and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer.
“CAR T-cell therapies have shown remarkable progress in the clinic, yet their applicability beyond a small subset of cancers is currently very limited,” said Sanjiv Sam Gambhir, M.D., Ph.D., Vor scientific advisory board member, professor of Radiology and Bioengineering, chair of the Department of Radiology, director of the Canary Center for Cancer Early Detection and director of the Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford University. “This technology seeks to address bottlenecks that prevent CAR T-cell therapy from becoming more broadly useful in treating cancers outside of B-cell cancers.”
Researchers continue to make big advances in using the immune system to fight cancer. CAR T-cell therapy, which modifies the body’s own immune cells (T-cells) to recognize and kill cancer cells, has emerged as a promising therapy for patients with advanced B-cell leukemias. These approaches have focused on targeting markers that are present on all B-cells, both healthy and cancerous. While the body can safely function without B-cells, using CAR T-cell therapy to treat other cancers—which would involve targeting cells necessary for survival—remains elusive. Furthermore, CAR T-cell therapy has shown more limited results in treating solid tumors. Vor is developing an entirely new approach to CAR T-cell therapy that seeks to broaden its applicability in other cancers, particularly those with limited therapeutic options, by removing key barriers generated by current modalities.
“We continue to make great strides in developing new ways to treat cancer using the body’s immune system,” said Dr. Mukherjee. “The positive clinical response researchers have achieved with CAR T-cell therapies in B-cell leukemias has led to great interest within the oncology community and is something we hope to achieve in other cancers over time.”
The company’s team of scientific founders and Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) members includes:
Vor BioPharma is an immuno-oncology company dedicated to developing a new class of targeted cell therapies to treat highly fatal malignancies. The company is advancing a novel approach to chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy that has the potential to broaden its applicability and success rate in other cancers. Co-founded by PureTech Health, Vor is working with leading oncologists and immunologists to develop a pipeline of potentially life-altering immunotherapies that extend beyond what is possible with current treatments.
PureTech Health owns approximately 91% of the company on a diluted basis as of December 31, 2015. This calculation includes issued and outstanding shares as well as options to purchase shares and written commitments to issue shares or options, but excludes unallocated shares authorized to be issued pursuant to equity incentive plans.