New R&D agreement to expand Ziopharm’s TCR-T Program

New R&D agreement to expand Ziopharm’s TCR-T Program

New R&D agreement to expand Ziopharm’s TCR-T Program

Ziopharm Oncology, an immuno-oncology company focused on developing end-to-end cost-effective solutions using its non-viral Sleeping Beauty platform for TCR and CAR T-cell therapies and immune-stimulating gene therapy, has concluded a new R&D agreement with MD Anderson Cancer Center. This agreement is related to Ziopharm’s Sleeping Beauty immunotherapy program to use non-viral gene transfer to stably express and clinically evaluate neoantigen-specific T-cell receptors (TCRs) in T cells (referred to as TCR-T).  It expands the relationship between Ziopharm and MD Anderson, established under a 2015 research agreement related to CD19-specific CAR-T.

This new agreement is a launch point to expand our TCR library and execute two new clinical trials; a trial for utilizing TCRs from the library targeting hotspot mutations in KRAS, TP53 and EGFR, and a second trial for personalized TCRs targeting patient-specific neoantigens,” said Laurence Cooper, CEO of Ziopharm. Earlier this month, the FDA cleared an IND application for a phase 1 clinical trial to evaluate CD19-specific CAR-T, manufactured and infused within two days of gene transfer using Ziopharm’s rapid personalized manufacture (RPM), as an investigational treatment for patients with relapsed CD19+ leukemias and lymphomas.

Under the terms of the new agreement, Ziopharm commits to fund an additional $20 million for this expanded work in the TCR-T program through 2023, as well as certain milestone payments for clinical development or regulatory approval in the U.S., European Union, Japan and the rest of the world. MD Anderson will receive low, single-digit royalties on net sales in the U.S. and international markets, as well as warrants for Ziopharm common stock which vest upon achievement of clinical milestones.
In addition to the new R&D agreement, Ziopharm has entered a lease agreement with MD Anderson through which the company accesses additional laboratory and office space within the institution’s campus. This new facility will serve as home for Ziopharm’s expanded Houston office, under the direction of Eleanor de Groot, EVP, GM Cell Therapy and Drew Deniger, head of Ziopharm’s TCR-T cell therapy program.

(October 29th, 2019)