Asco 2020 – early allogeneic Car-T promise


Among various cell therapy presentations the Asco virtual conference on May 29-31 features the first results from Allogene’s allogeneic CD-19-directed Car ALLO-501 in lymphoma. The data are particularly relevant as biotech entered 2020 with the hope that allogeneic, or off-the-shelf, Car-T therapy would at last deliver a knockout blow. The early data from Allogene’s Alpha study are not that, but they are promising none the less, showing remissions in seven of nine evaluable subjects. Though three of the seven relapsed, the initial ORR looks competitive versus Gilead’s and Novartis’s marketed autologous products, Yescarta and Kymriah respectively. Car-T watchers will note that ALLO-501 is structurally identical to UCART19, under development by Allogene’s partner Cellectis, but uses a different manufacturing process. And for lymphodepletion ALLO-501 uses not Campath, which is now hard to obtain, but Allogene’s own anti-CD52 MAb, ALLO-647. But it will be not ALLO-501 that enters phase II but ALLO-501A, which dispenses with ALLO-501’s Rituxan-induced “safety switch”. This is because this could impair efficacy in lymphoma patients, many of whom receive Rituxan as a treatment. The Asco abstract revealed no dose-limiting toxicities or graft-versus-host disease, and Allogene opened up 25% today.

Cross-trial comparisons of Car-T therapies in lymphoma
Project Company Trial ORR CR rate
ALLO-501 Allogene Alpha 7/9 (78%) 33%
Yescarta Gilead Zuma-1 73/101 (73%) 51%
Kymriah Novartis Juliet 34/68 (50%) 32%
Source: Asco & product labels.

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