Mont-Saint-Guibert, Belgium – Celyad Oncology (Euronext & Nasdaq: CYAD) (the “Company”), a biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of innovative technologies for chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies, today provides an update on its Celyad 2.0 business strategy which has been adopted and implemented over the last few months.
In keeping with this strategy, the Company intends to focus on maximizing its valuable intellectual property (IP) estate, and strengthening its research focus.
- The Company has compiled a foundational and broad IP estate that controls key aspects of developing therapies in the allogeneic cell therapy space. The patents around allogeneic CAR T-cell therapies and NKG2D-based therapies provide an avenue to develop intellectual property programs and to partner with outside parties around the licensing of these patents.
- In addition to IP partnering transactions, Celyad 2.0 will prioritize discovery research in areas of expertise where it can leverage the differentiated nature of its platforms. The Company is implementing a differentiated and innovative strategy, tackling the major current limitations of CAR T-cell therapies. This strategy includes:
- Multiplexing approach of the short hairpin RNA (shRNA) platform, allowing multiple genes, including essential and functional genes, to be modulated simultaneously;
- Dual CAR development of a next-generation NKG2D-based CAR which may help to overcome resistance and immune escape often observed with traditional single targeting approaches; and
- Development of B7-H6-targeting immunotherapies as the Company believes that B7-H6 is an underappreciated target that could change the paradigm of cell therapy due to its broad expression in a large variety of cancers.
Celyad Oncology is of the opinion that it will potentially create more shareholder value by licensing its patent estate and further strengthening its research efforts to improve the differentiated nature of its platforms.
Based on a strategic and financial review, the Company has decided to discontinue the development of its remaining clinical program CYAD-211 (the allogeneic shRNA-based, anti-BCMA CAR T candidate for relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma (r/r MM)). There were no safety concerns leading to this decision and all patients previously treated with CYAD-211 will continue to receive their protocol-defined follow-up.
The key data points of the program are as follows:
- 19 r/r MM patients have been treated with CYAD-211 in the IMMUNICY-1 trial which was developed to validate shRNA technology in the clinic;
- The observed safety profile, including the lack of observed Graft-versus-Host disease, provides proof-of-concept for the use of shRNA technology for allogeneic CAR Ts;
- Out of 17 evaluable patients, a partial response was achieved in five patients. One patient was recently re-treated with a second dose of CYAD-211 after having reached stable disease post first infusion; and
- Enhanced lymphodepletion did not seem to improve clinical activity nor persistence of the cells post-infusion.
Anticipated milestones for 2023
- The Company will take part in several conferences including The World Oncology Cell Therapy Congress in April and the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer’s (SITC) 38th Annual Meeting in November; and
- The Company will provide updates on the potential proof-of-concept of the dual CAR and multiplexing research programs and on business development in the second quarter of 2023.