Publication date: 19/05/2017
Celyad (Euronext Brussels and Paris, and NASDAQ:CYAD), a leader in the discovery and development of cell therapies, today provided an update on key clinical and operational developments for the first quarter ended March 31, 2017.
FIRST QUARTER 2017 AND RECENT HIGHLIGHTS
Dr. Christian Homsy, CEO of Celyad commented: “Celyad had a productive first quarter, setting the tone for the remainder of 2017. Our continued focus on our NKR-T platform has led to important milestones: the initiation of the U.S. arm of our THINK trial, the successful and safe dosing of our first patients with solid, bone marrow and hematological tumors and the demonstration of the safety of our CAR-T NKR-2 product at the first dose tested.”
Patrick Jeanmart, CFO of Celyad added: “The decision of the USPTO to uphold our patent related to allogeneic TCR-deficient CAR-T cells confirmed the strength of our intellectual property, and our license agreement with Novartis demonstrated the intrinsic value of this asset.”
FIRST QUARTER 2017 OPERATIONAL AND FINANCIAL REVIEW
In January, the U.S. Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) decided –for the third time – to uphold Celyad’s U.S. Patent No. 9,181,527, relating to allogeneic human primary T-cells that are engineered to be TCR-deficient and express a CAR. In March, the USPTO rejected another request for a re-examination of the same patent. Celyad’s critical patent remains valid and enforceable.
On the operation side, the THINK trial progressed as expected. The ongoing THINK trial is comprised of two arms: a solid tumor arm, targeting colorectal, pancreatic, ovarian, triple negative breast and bladder cancers, and a liquid arm, targeting Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and multiple myeloma (MM). All patients in the first dose (3x108) cohort of the solid tumor arm of the trial were dosed successfully with no drug related safety issues reported. The first cohort is composed of two colorectal and one pancreatic patient. In the liquid tumor arm, the first AML patients have been dosed and two MM patients have been recruited.
With consent from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in March, the THINK trial is now global, recruiting patients both in Belgium and in the U.S. In the US, Celyad intends to recruit patients at three clinical centers, two of which have been initiated and approved (Roswell Park (NY) and University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre (PA)).
The Company ended the quarter with €72.4 million in cash. Use of cash over the first quarter of 2017 amounted to €10.2 million, in line with expectations. The company confirms that existing cash and cash equivalents and short term investments are sufficient to fund operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements, based on the current scope of activities, through the first half 2019.
Events subsequent to quarter-end:
On April 28, Celyad announced the dosing of the first patient of the second dose (1x109) in the solid tumor arm of its THINK trial. This first ovarian cancer patient was dosed at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (Buffalo, New York).
On May 2, Celyad announced a non-exclusive license agreement with Novartis for Celyad’s US patents related to allogeneic CAR-T cells. This license agreement is related to two targets currently under development by Novartis. The agreement includes Celyad’s intellectual property rights under United States Patent No. 9,181,527 related to allogeneic human primary T-Cells that are engineered to be T-Cell Receptor (TCR) deficient and express a Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR).
Under the terms of the agreement Celyad receives an upfront payment and is eligible to receive success based clinical, regulatory and commercial milestone payments. If all success based milestones are achieved, Celyad is eligible to receive payments, including the upfront payment, totalling $96 million. In addition, Celyad will receive single digit royalties based on net sales of the licensed target associated products. Novartis has the option to extend the agreement to additional targets and/or to convert its license into an exclusive license. Celyad retains all rights to grant further licenses to third parties for the use of allogeneic CAR-T cells.
Celyad will not be involved in the development of Novartis’ CAR-T cells. Celyad will continue to focus on the development of its CAR-T pipeline, including its allogeneic NKR-2 T-cell immunotherapy in the EU and US territories and in collaboration with Ono Pharmaceuticals, its partner in Japan, Taiwan and Korea.
On May 11, Celyad announced that the FDA had granted Fast Track designation for its C-Cure® therapy. Celyad intends to leverage this designation to accelerate the search for a strategic partner. The FDA granted Fast Track designation for reduction in mortality, hospitalization and improvement of quality of life in patients with chronic heart failure secondary to ischemic cardiomyopathy with baseline Left Ventricular End-Diastolic Volumes (LVEDV) between 200 and 370ml as Fast Track Development Program.
Celyad is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of specialized cellbased therapies. The Company utilizes its expertise in cell engineering to target cancer. Celyad’s Natural Killer Receptor based T-Cell (NKR-T) platform has the potential to treat a broad range of solid and hematologic tumors. Its lead oncology candidate, the CAR-T NKR-2, has been evaluated in a single dose - escalation Phase I clinical trial to assess the safety and feasibility of CAR-T NKR-2 cells in patients suffering from AML or MM. This Phase I study was successfully completed in September 2016. Celyad was founded in 2007 and is based in Mont-Saint Guibert, Belgium, and Boston, Massachusetts. Celyad’s ordinary shares are listed on the Euronext Brussels and Euronext Paris exchanges, and its American Depository Shares are listed on NASDAQ Global Market, all under the ticker symbol CYAD.