Fate buries bad data and moves on
It is just as well that the NK cell projects FT500 and FT516 were not a huge part of Fate’s investment case, because clinical trial results revealed quietly yesterday suggest them to be commercially unviable, at least in solid tumours. Perhaps this too explains Fate’s decision to sneak the data into an obscure investor presentation rather than announce them more broadly. The results for FT500, unmodified NK cells, show three remissions in eight patients, while FT516, an NK cell project with a high-affinity CD16 receptor, has yielded just one PR in nine. Not only is this efficacy poor, the fact that the cells were given with an anti-PD-1 MAb as well as IL-2 makes the data uninterpretable. The enrolment targets for the PD-1 combo studies of FT500 and FT516 have now been reduced, respectively, from 76 to 37 and from 27 to 12, according to clinicaltrials.gov. Fate called FT500 and FT516 “pilot programmes” that “started the journey”, and its focus is switching to FT538, an NK construct with additional CD38 knockout. Meanwhile, investors’ attention remains on a key clinical update for the Car-NK project FT596, due to be presented at Ash next month.
This is a corrected version of an earlier story.