SAN DIEGO - Fate Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: FATE), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of programmed cellular immunotherapies for cancer and immune disorders, announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has allowed its Investigational New Drug (IND) application for FT516, the Company's off-the-shelf natural killer (NK) cell product candidate derived from a clonal master induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) line engineered to express a novel CD16 Fc receptor.
FT516 is the first-ever cell therapy derived from a genetically engineered pluripotent stem cell cleared for clinical testing in the world, and is the Company's second off-the-shelf, iPSC-derived NK cell product candidate cleared for clinical investigation by the FDA within the past two months. The Company intends to initiate clinical testing of FT516 in patients with certain relapsed/refractory hematologic malignancies, including acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) as a monotherapy, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) in combination with rituximab, and multiple myeloma (MM) in combination with elotuzumab.
'This allowance by the FDA of our FT516 IND application is a watershed event in the clinical development of engineered cell therapies. Our industry-leading iPSC product platform enables the manufacture of engineered cell products that can be extensively characterized, cryopreserved and delivered 'on demand' to reach more patients,' said Scott Wolchko, President and Chief Executive Officer of Fate Therapeutics. 'FT516 is a first-of-kind cell product in that it originates from a single genetically engineered pluripotent stem cell, which serves as a clonal master cell line that can be repeatedly used to mass-produce large quantities of homogeneous cell product in a cost-effective manner. This innovative approach uniquely supports a new treatment paradigm with engineered cell therapies, where multiple doses of cell product are readily available for administration with the goal of driving deeper and more durable responses. We look forward to treating patients with multiple doses of FT516, including in combination with FDA-approved monoclonal antibody therapy, across multiple treatment cycles in this first clinical study.'
CD16 is naturally expressed on NK cells and mediates antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC), a potent immune mechanism through which NK cells can recognize, bind and kill antibody-coated cancer cells. ADCC is an underlying mechanism associated with the clinical efficacy of many monoclonal antibodies that are approved for the treatment of various cancers, including hematologic malignancies and solid tumors. The expression of CD16 on NK cells can undergo considerable down-regulation in cancer patients, which significantly inhibits the immune system's anti-tumor response. FT516 incorporates a novel CD16 Fc receptor, which has been modified to prevent its down-regulation and to augment its binding to tumor-targeting antibodies, for enhanced ADCC.
The initial clinical study of FT516 is intended to assess the safety and tolerability of three weekly doses for the treatment of certain relapsed/refractory hematologic malignancies. The study includes three independent, dose-escalating treatment arms: monotherapy for AML; combination with rituximab for NHL and combination with elotuzumab, plus pomalidomide and dexamethasone, for MM. All subjects will receive low-dose conditioning chemotherapy consisting of cyclophosphamide and fludarabine (Cy/Flu) and cytokine support with IL-2. Subjects are eligible to receive a second treatment cycle following an initial 28-day safety assessment.
FT516 is the second off-the-shelf, iPSC-derived NK cell product candidate cleared for clinical investigation by the FDA from the Company's proprietary iPSC product platform. In November 2018, the FDA cleared the Company's IND application for FT500, an off-the-shelf, iPSC-derived NK cell product candidate for use in combination with checkpoint blockade therapy for the treatment of solid tumors.
About Fate Therapeutics' iPSC Product Platform
The Company's proprietary iPSC product platform enables mass production of off-the-shelf, engineered, homogeneous cell products that can be administered in repeat doses to mediate more effective pharmacologic activity, including in combination with cycles of other cancer treatments. Human iPSCs possess the unique dual properties of unlimited self-renewal and differentiation potential into all cell types of the body. The Company's first-of-kind approach involves engineering human iPSCs in a one-time genetic modification event, and selecting a single iPSC for maintenance as a clonal master iPSC line. Analogous to master cell lines used to manufacture biopharmaceutical drug products such as monoclonal antibodies, clonal master iPSC lines are a renewable source for manufacturing cell therapy products which are well-defined and uniform in composition, can be mass produced at significant scale in a cost-effective manner, and can be delivered off-the-shelf to treat many patients. As a result, the Company's platform is uniquely capable of addressing the limitations associated with the production of cell therapies using patient- or donor-derived cells, which is logistically complex and expensive and is fraught with batch-to-batch and cell-to-cell variability that can affect safety and efficacy. Fate Therapeutics' iPSC product platform is supported by an intellectual property portfolio of over 100 issued patents and 100 pending patent applications.
About Fate Therapeutics, Inc.
Fate Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of first-in-class cellular immunotherapies for cancer and immune disorders. The Company is pioneering the development of off-the-shelf cell products using its proprietary induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) product platform. The Company's immuno-oncology pipeline is comprised of FATE-NK100, a donor-derived natural killer (NK) cell cancer immunotherapy that is currently being evaluated in three Phase 1 clinical trials, as well as iPSC-derived NK cell and T-cell immunotherapies, with a focus on developing next-generation cell products intended to synergize with checkpoint inhibitor and monoclonal antibody therapies and to target tumor-specific antigens. The Company's immuno-regulatory pipeline includes ProTmune, a next-generation donor cell graft that is currently being evaluated in a Phase 2 clinical trial for the prevention of graft-versus-host disease, and a myeloid-derived suppressor cell immunotherapy for promoting immune tolerance in patients with immune disorders. Fate Therapeutics is headquartered in San Diego, CA.
This release contains 'forward-looking statements' within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 including statements regarding the advancement of and plans related to the Company's product candidates and planned clinical studies, the therapeutic potential of the Company's NK cell product candidates, including FT516, the Company's regulatory strategy, and the Company's plans for its intended clinical investigation of FT500 and FT516. These and any other forward-looking statements in this release are based on management's current expectations of future events and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially and adversely from those set forth in or implied by such forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the risk of difficulties or delay in the initiation of any planned clinical studies, or in the enrollment or evaluation of subjects in any future clinical studies, the risk that the Company may cease or delay preclinical or clinical development of any of its product candidates for a variety of reasons (including requirements that may be imposed by regulatory authorities on the initiation or conduct of clinical trials or to support regulatory approval, difficulties in manufacturing or supplying the Company's product candidates for clinical testing, and any adverse events or other negative results that may be observed during preclinical or clinical development), the risk that results observed in preclinical studies of FT516 may not be replicated in ongoing or future clinical trials or studies, and the risk that FT516 may not produce therapeutic benefits or may cause other unanticipated adverse effects. Fate Therapeutics is providing the information in this release as of this date and does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this release as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.