Torque and Thermo Fisher Scientific Announce Collaboration to Build State-of-the-Art Facility to Manufacture Torque’s Deep-Primed T Cell Immunotherapies
-Thermo Fisher’s Princeton, NJ facility to come online in 2019 to support clinical development of Torque’s expanding cellular immunotherapy pipeline –
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. and WALTHAM, Mass., Feb. 4, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Torque, an immuno-oncology company developing first-in-class Deep Primed™ T Cell Therapeutics to direct immune power deep within the tumor microenvironment, and Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (NYSE: TMO), today announced a collaboration to build a dedicated Slipstream™ manufacturing facility for high-efficiency production of Torque’s Deep-Primed T cell immunotherapies.
Buildout of the Torque/Thermo Fisher manufacturing facility has begun, and the companies anticipate processing patient cells by the end of 2019. The Slipstream platform will initially be used in the clinical development of Torque’s lead Deep-Primed T cell candidate, TRQ-1501, in solid and hematologic tumors; followed by TRQ-1201, also for solid and hematologic tumors.
“Torque’s cell manufacturing technology platform is critical to achieving our goal of developing and commercializing a new class of cellular immunotherapy for cancer patients with both early and advanced disease, particularly for the large population of solid tumor patients in need of new treatments,” said Bart Henderson, CEO of Torque. “We are very excited about partnering with Thermo Fisher to build this state-of-the-art manufacturing facility because of their vision and exceptional track record in building high-efficiency, globally integrated operations. This is a pioneering manufacturing partnership with the goal of dramatically improving the efficiency and scalability of producing best-in-class cellular immunotherapy products that have the potential to benefit a significant number of cancer patients.”
“Thermo Fisher is dedicated to advancing precision medicine, and our collaboration with Torque is a tangible example of the progress we are making to become a recognized leader in cell therapy manufacturing,” said Michel Lagarde, President of Pharma Services for Thermo Fisher Scientific. “We are pleased to partner with Torque to build and launch this unique and advanced manufacturing facility utilizing the Slipstream technology, Torque’s innovative cellular immunotherapy product, which has the potential to transform cancer treatment and patients’ lives.”
The Slipstream platform technology situated in Princeton is a revolutionary design that uses a fully closed, semi-automated system that surpasses conventional cell therapy manufacturing techniques. The Slipstream process leverages advanced logistics that enable a substantially smaller manufacturing footprint that is less capital- and labor-intensive. Production capacity can be expanded modularly by adding arrays in Lego-like fashion.
About Slipstream™ Cell Therapy Manufacturing Technology
Slipstream™ is a proprietary, high-efficiency T cell manufacturing platform engineered by Torque. 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 cell engineering process uses a modular design that enables both large-scale and decentralized manufacturing. Slipstream has the potential to improve manufacturing efficiency beyond what is possible with currently used cell therapy manufacturing processes and to move cell therapy production closer to the point of care.
About Torque’s Deep-Primed™ Immune Cell Therapy Platform
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
- using a proprietary technology platform, without genetic engineering, for a high margin of safety.
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, immunomodulators are tethered to the surface of Deep-Primed T cells—initially IL-15 and IL-12 cytokines, and TLR agonists—that activate 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 (www.torquetx.com)
Torque is an immuno-oncology company developing Deep Primed™ T cell therapeutics to direct immune power deep within the tumor microenvironment. Torque’s lead product candidate—TRQ1501 (Deep IL-15 primed T cells)—will initiate Phase 1/2 clinical trials for hematologic and solid tumors in the first quarter of 2019. The company is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
About Thermo Fisher Scientific
Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. is the world leader in serving science, with revenues of more than $20 billion and approximately 70,000 employees globally. Our mission is to enable our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer. We help our customers accelerate life sciences research, solve complex analytical challenges, improve patient diagnostics, deliver medicines to market and increase laboratory productivity. Through our premier brands – Thermo Scientific, Applied Biosystems, Invitrogen, Fisher Scientific and Unity Lab Services – we offer an unmatched combination of innovative technologies, purchasing convenience and comprehensive services. For more information, please visit www.thermofisher.com.
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