Buoyed by a recent proof-of-concept trial of its cytoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) targeting treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection, late stage biopharma Tevogen Bio announced will begin work to study potential therapeutic use of its allogeneic genetically unmodified precision T cell technology in multiple sclerosis (MS) by developing Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) specific CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL). These CTLs will also be studied for the potential use in EBV-related cancers, such as nasopharyngeal carcinoma and certain lymphomas.
“Recent studies on MS have suggested a probable link between infection with EBV and later onset of the inflammation that degrades the myelin sheath and causes MS,” said Neal Flomenberg, CSO Tevogen in a press release. “We look to apply our significant expertise in off-the-shelf allogeneic SARS-CoV-2 specific CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes to explore EBV specific CTL therapy as a possible means of addressing the unmet needs of MS patients and certain cancer patients.”
Tevogen’s CCO Sadiq Khan added: “With nearly 1 million patients living with multiple sclerosis in the United States alone, we hope to bring additional arsenal to help treat this debilitating disease, which impacts patients in their most productive years.”
According to the company, its focus is to develop the company’s technology for its potential to overcome the common roadblocks to proving CTL therapy, namely potency, purity, production-at-scale, and patient-pairing. To do this, it is honing its T cell platform to produce therapies with increased immunogenic specificity that will allow them to eliminate malignant and infected cells while keep healthy cells intact.
While T-cell therapies are currently produced specifically for each patient using their own cells, Tevogen’s goal is to develop personalized immunotherapies for large patient populations impacted by common cancers and viral infections. The company’s first generation manufacturing process already yields a highly efficient ratio of doses per cell donor using cells from a single donor to potentially create treatments for thousand of people. The company noted that its second generation proprietary TCR-T process is expected to dramatically increase the number of doses it can produce.
The company’s lead candidate is TVGN-489 for ambulatory, acute-risk COVID-19 patients. TVGN-489 is a genetically unmodified, off-the-shelf, allogeneic cytotoxic CD8+ T lymphocyte product with activity against multiple, precise targets across the entire SARS-CoV-2 genome. The company recently completed a proof-of-concept study with the drug candidate that showed no dose limiting toxicities or treatment-related adverse events.
This positive result led the company to pursue development of therapeutics for MS and EBV-related cancers.
“We believe that cell therapies are expected to be the norm, not the exception,” said Tevogen CEO Ryan Saadi. “Tevogen aspires and is designed to be the very first biotech to achieve commercial success and patient affordability through advanced science and efficient business models.”