Torque Announces Proprietary Slipstream™ Platform for High-Efficiency Manufacturing of Deep-Primed T-Cell Therapies
– UC Davis Good Manufacturing Practice facility to supply initial clinical trials using Slipstream manufacturing platform –
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., August 1, 2018— Torque, an immuno-oncology company developing first-in-class Deep Primed™ T Cell Therapeutics to direct immune power deep within the tumor microenvironment, announced today a high-efficiency T cell manufacturing process engineered by Torque, called “Slipstream™.” The proprietary Slipstream process is now in place at UC Davis for manufacturing Deep-Primed T-Cells for Torque’s first clinical trial that will initiate later this year in both solid and hematologic cancers.
“Torque’s cell manufacturing strategy is a critical aspect of our mission to dramatically expand cell therapy cures for cancer,” said Bart Henderson, CEO of Torque. “The Slipstream manufacturing process is based on a robust, closed system that surpasses conventional cell therapy manufacturing techniques used for currently marketed T cell therapy products—Slipstream is readily scalable, requires a substantially smaller manufacturing footprint, and is less capital- and labor-intensive. We are pleased to announce this innovative system and our collaboration to build out Slipstream with the UC Davis team led by Gerhard Bauer—one of the country’s premier experts on the management and development of GMP cell manufacturing facilities— to bring a new class of immune cell therapy to patients with cancer.”
“We started with the decision to design for commercial scale, to bypass challenges in the transition from clinical trials to commercialization,” said Fabio Fachin, Vice President of Cell Therapy Engineering and Manufacturing for Torque. “Using proprietary processes, automation, and advanced logistics, we innovated the Slipstream process for high-efficiency use of space and labor, with a fully closed production stream from end to end. Our goal is to deliver the highest-quality end product for patients.”
Slipstream is designed to operate as modular “compact factories” that can be used in both large-scale and decentralized manufacturing settings, with the potential to move cell manufacturing closer to the point of care. Production capacity can be expanded by adding additional arrays in Lego-like fashion.
“Slipstream is a productivity revolution in the immune cell therapy space,” said Dr. Bauer. “This is a streamlined, fully closed, T cell manufacturing system—a groundbreaking innovation in that there are no open transfers between steps, which eliminates contamination risk and dramatically reduces the facility footprint required for commercial-quality manufacturing. Slipstream’s modular design means it can be expanded to create a network of cell manufacturing mini-factories at whatever scale is needed, whether in a regional facility at point-of-care, or at a centralized production facility. Improving efficiency and reducing the cost of manufacturing these personalized therapies in this way is how the industry will move forward and develop treatments that are broadly accessible and affordable.”
About Slipstream™ Cell Therapy Manufacturing Technology
Slipstream™ is a proprietary, high-efficiency T cell manufacturing platform engineered by Torque to operate as modular compact factories. Currently marketed immune cell therapies are produced using open, complex, labor- and cost-intensive processes that require a substantial manufacturing facility. In contrast, Slipstream production is semi-automated and fully closed, which eliminates contamination risk between transfers and can dramatically reduce staffing requirements and the factory footprint. The technology’s modular design enables both large-scale and decentralized manufacturing. Slipstream has the potential to improve manufacturing efficiency and cost beyond what is possible with currently used cell therapy manufacturing processes and to move cell therapy production closer to the point of care.
About Deep-Primed™ Immune Cell Therapeutics
Torque’s Deep-Priming platform uses advanced cell process engineering to:
- prime and activate T cells to target multiple tumor antigens, and
- tether immune-stimulatory drugs to the surface of these multi-target T cells to direct immune activation in the tumor microenvironment
Deep-Primed T cells both target multiple tumor antigens and pharmacologically activate an immune response with anchored cytokines. This process does not require genetic engineering of the T cells and so preserves the natural T cell receptor for delivering a regulated immune response, with the potential for a high margin of safety. In addition to antigen priming, a focused set of immunomodulators is tethered to the surface of Deep-Primed T cells—initially IL-15 and IL-12 cytokines, and TLR agonists—that activate and focus both innate and adaptive immunity. Administering these immunomodulators systemically to a patient can cause lethal toxicity by activating immune cells throughout the body. By loading precise doses of cytokines onto the surface of T cells, Deep Priming focuses the immune response to target the tumor, without systemic exposure.
In hematologic cancers, this new class of immune cell therapeutics has the potential to improve on the initial success of single-target CAR T therapeutics with expanded efficacy and also move cell therapy treatment out of the hospital with a high margin of safety. For solid tumors, Deep-Primed T cells have the potential to enable efficacy against tumors with heterogeneous antigens protected by hostile microenvironments, which are not readily addressable with the first generation of immune cell therapies.
About Torque (http://www.torquetx.com)
Torque is an immuno-oncology company developing Deep Primed™ T cells to direct immune power deep within the tumor microenvironment. Torque’s lead product candidate is Deep IL-15, which is in pre-IND development for hematologic and solid tumors. The company is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.