Tessa Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing a portfolio of novel next-generation cell therapies for cancer.
Tessa is leading the way in CD30 targeting using cell therapy. CD30 is a well validated lymphoma target with homogenous expression in Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma and multiple subsets of non-Hodgkin Lymphomas. Tessa’s approach to target CD30-positive cancers using CAR-T (Chimeric Antigen Receptor) cells has demonstrated excellent safety and efficacy in early clinical trials. Having received the RMAT and PRIME designation, Tessa is now advancing the therapy to a pivotal trial.
Off-the-shelf allogeneic cell therapy has significant advantages and is the next frontier in cancer treatment. Tessa is developing a unique and potentially transformational allogeneic CD30-CAR EBVST platform capable of targeting a broad range of cancers. This platform is based on decades-long research and development on unique properties of Virus Specific T-cells (VSTs) by our Scientific Co-Founder, Dr. Malcolm Brenner, and his team at Baylor College of Medicine.
Tessa is proud to be innovators in the field of cancer immunotherapy, and remains committed to making a difference in the lives of cancer patients worldwide. Our global headquarters are in Singapore, where we are building our own state-of-the-art commercial manufacturing facility. We are also currently setting up our United States headquarters in New Jersey.
Oncolytic Virus Combinations
Current CAR-T cell therapies have had limited clinical success in patients with solid tumors. Some of the roadblocks for CAR-T cell therapy in solid tumor targeting includes heterogeneity of cancer antigen expression in solid tumors leading to outgrowth of escape variants, low levels of tumor antigens expressed in organs leading to on-target off-tumor activity, presence of physical barriers restricting immune cell entry, together with the development of an immune suppressive microenvironment. Novel approaches for CAR T cell therapy in solid tumors are therefore urgently warranted.
Tessa’s novel approach to overcome the challenges of applying CAR – cells in solid tumors is to is to combine CAR-T cells and binary oncolytic virus therapy. The administration of this therapy is a two-step process: adenoviruses consisting of oncolytic and helper-dependent adenoviruses are administered locally into the tumor, followed by systemic infusion of tumor antigen targeting-CAR-T cells. The oncolytic virus directly kills tumor cells and while doing so, generates an inflammatory tumor microenvironment that would be more accessible to CAR T cell infiltration. Entry of CAR T cells into these ‘hot’ tumors enables a second wave of tumor killing. The helper-dependent virus encodes for local production of T cell stimulant IL-12 and
checkpoint inhibitor anti-PD-L1. This further immunologically primes the tumor and super-charges the CAR T cell for tumor killing.
We are testing this approach in our TT16 Phase 1 clinical trial in United States, where we combine HER2-CAR-T cells and binary oncolytic virus therapy to target HER2-positive solid tumors.This study is being conducted in partnership with Baylor College of Medicine.
Building State-of-the-art, GMP manufacturing facility suited for global regulatory standards
Building robust, scalable operational capabilities is a critical aspect of our strategy to rapidly and reliably deliver cell therapies to patients worldwide.
We plan to open our state-of-the-art, 90,000 square foot commercial-scale cell therapy manufacturing facility in 2021. Located in Singapore, it will be one of the leading facilities of its kind in Asia. The facility is designed to support manufacturing for both T cell and CAR-T immunotherapies for our clinical development and future commercialisation needs. Apart from manufacturing, the facility will also have integrated CMC capabilities to enable rapid product development.
The facility is being developed to be in compliance with current Good-Manufacturing-Practice (cGMP) guidelines from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, European Medicines Agency and other key regulators in Asia.