Lion Biotechnologies has entered a multi-year strategic alliance agreement with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to investigate its tumour-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) therapy in multi-arm clinical trials to treat ovarian and pancreatic cancer, as well as different sarcomas.
Based on Lion's TIL technology, the TIL therapy leverages the ability of TILs to overcome the cancer's immunosuppressive effects.
The clinical trials are to be designed by the Lion and MD Anderson joint steering committee and will be conducted by MD Anderson for assessing the safety and efficacy of TIL therapy, developed using two different TIL manufacturing processes.
Both firms will hold the manufacturing responsibilities for producing TILs that will be used in the planned cellular therapy trials.
Lion Biotechnologies president and chief executive officer Maria Fardis said: "We are excited to form this strategic alliance with MD Anderson.
"Together, we expect to generate data that will support the pursuit of additional pipeline indications to complement our ongoing Lion-sponsored TIL clinical programmes in metastatic melanoma, head and neck and cervical cancers."
The partnership will utilise Lion's expertise in TIL therapy and manufacturing capacity in combination with MD Anderson's experience in novel methods development for TIL generation.
The firms will also engage in a related preclinical research that will aim to expand TIL from other tumour types to identify new indications for clinical research in the future.
TIL therapy is also being studied in clinical trials at the National Cancer Institute and Moffitt Cancer Center.