Cartherics executes Option Agreement with The Ohio State University


Melbourne, Australia, 20 March 2024 –  Cartherics Pty Ltd (“Cartherics” or “Company”), a biotechnology company developing immune cell therapies for the treatment of cancer, is pleased to announce that it has executed an option agreement to evaluate intellectual property (IP) from The Ohio State University (Ohio State) covering tissue factor (TF) as a target for chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) natural killer (NK) cells.  The Company will utilise its proprietary induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived NK cells to conduct the evaluation. Subject to the results, Cartherics will then exercise the option to negotiate a commercial licence to the IP.

TF is a coagulation factor that is aberrantly expressed in a range of tumor tissues and tumor blood vessels. Dr Zhiwei Hu, the inventor of the Ohio State IP, is an expert on TF cancer biology and has extensive experience in developing products targeting TF expressed in cancer tissues.  Dr Hu has demonstrated that an NK cell line (NK92) carrying a CAR targeting TF is extremely effective in killing tumours in mouse models, including triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) and multiple myeloma (MM), representing a solid cancer and a hematologic malignancy that are very poorly treated using existing therapies.

“It is important that Cartherics is moving this research forward.  It has the potential to open new doors for treating not only TF-positive solid cancers and hematologic malignancies, but also for treating other human diseases in which TF is highly expressed in specific diseased tissues,” said Dr. Hu, associate professor of surgical oncology in the Department of Surgery at The Ohio State University College of Medicine and a member of the Translational Therapeutics Program at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

Cartherics will generate CAR constructs based on the Ohio State IP and insert them into its iPSC-derived NK cells.  The resultant TF CAR-NK cells will then be assessed for in vitro and in vivo efficacy against relevant human cancer cell lines.

Cartherics’ CEO, Prof. Alan Trounson AO, commented: “We are delighted to be working with Ohio State to explore tissue factor as a target for our CAR-NK platform.  Tissue factor represents a new tumour target for Cartherics, complementing and expanding the extensive work we’ve done with TAG-72, the target for our lead product, CTH-401.”

About Cartherics

Cartherics is a privately held biotechnology company based in Melbourne, Australia that is rearming the body’s immune system to fight cancer.  It is developing cell-based immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer, with a portfolio of CAR-T and CAR-NK cell products.  The Company’s allogeneic (“off-the-shelf”) cell platform is based upon induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) generated from donated cord blood that can be differentiated into NK cells, T cells and other cells of the immune system.  The iPSCs are genetically engineered at specific “safe harbour” genomic sites to provide enhanced function for the derived NK and other immune cells.  The Company’s lead product, CTH-401, is a CAR-NK cell product.  It carries a CAR directed against TAG-72, a well-validated tumour target, along with the deletion of two genes associated with immunosuppression.

The Company is also developing autologous CAR-T cell therapies. These use the patient’s own immune system T cells, which are modified to be effective against the patient’s cancer cells.  CTH-004 is created by genetically modifying patient T cells to insert a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) to target a marker (TAG-72) on ovarian cancer cells and delete genes that are involved in suppression of T cell function.

Cartherics media contact

Christine Filippis

Teraze Communications

Phone: +61 419 119 866