The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) has awarded a $10.6m grant to support Eureka Therapeutics’ ARYA-2 Phase I clinical trial of ET140203 ARTEMIS T-cell therapy for treating paediatric liver cancer.

The ongoing ARYA-2 study is part of the company’s liver cancer portfolio and is run in parallel with the ARYA-1 and ARYA-3 studies underway in adult patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

It is enrolling patients with hepatocellular neoplasm not otherwise specified (HCN-NOS), hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and hepatoblastoma (HB).

Principal Investigator under the CIRM grant and clinical development vice-president Dr Pei Wang said: “We are deeply appreciative of the CIRM Application Review Subcommittee members’ unanimous vote to support our effort to make novel cellular therapies available to the medically underserved paediatric liver cancer population.

“We look forward to collaborating with our clinical partners and the CIRM team to bring ET140203 to patients.”

The ARYA-1 and ARYA-2 trials use ET140203 ARTEMIS T cells to target AFP-positive liver cancer cells while ARYA-3 uses ECT204 cells that target the Glypican 3 protein expression seen on the liver cancer cell surface.

Eureka Therapeutics president and CEO Dr Cheng Liu said: “Paediatric liver malignancies are rare, have no FDA-approved treatment options, and remain difficult to treat.

“This partnership will allow us to accelerate the development and clinical translation of a promising new treatment and potentially improve the prognosis and survival outcome of paediatric patients with liver cancer.”

Eureka’s E-ALPHA antibody discovery platform is also used for developing effective T-cell therapies for treating haematologic malignancies and solid tumours.