Atara Biotherapeutics and Moffitt Cancer Center Announce Strategic Collaboration to Develop Next-Generation CAR T Immunotherapies

Atara Biotherapeutics announced that it has entered into a strategic collaboration with Moffitt Cancer Center to develop multi‑targeted chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR T) immunotherapies for patients with AML and B‑cell malignancies. As part of the collaboration, Atara will gain access to novel CAR T targeting and co‑stimulation domains designed to improve T cell proliferation and enhance persistence. This agreement, along with Atara’s prior CAR T collaboration with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), furthers the Company’s strategy to develop next generation engineered CAR T immunotherapies across multiple therapeutic areas and leverage the Company’s off-the-shelf, allogeneic T-cell immunotherapy platform.

“Atara is a leader in the development of off-the-shelf, allogeneic T-cell immunotherapies based on their novel EBV-specific T-cell technology platform,” said Marco Davila, M.D., Ph.D., medical oncologist in the Department of Blood and Marrow Transplantation and Medical Director of the GMP Cell Production Facility, Moffitt Cancer Center. “I look forward to rapidly advancing our CAR T engineering and multi-antigen targeting technologies with Atara to address the high unmet need in patients with advanced AML and B-cell malignancies.”

Under the agreement, Atara will collaborate with Dr. Davila to develop multi-targeted CAR T immunotherapies designed to address cancers with diverse cell types that often become resistant to treatment such as AML and B-cell malignancies. In addition, the collaboration includes the use of novel CAR T intracellular co-stimulatory domains based on CD28 and 4-1BB that may improve CAR T proliferation when responding to an appropriate antigen and enhance CAR T persistence by reducing T cell exhaustion.

Dietmar Berger, M.D., Ph.D., Global Head of Research and Development of Atara Biotherapeutics said, “Our focus is to rapidly advance development of next generation off-the-shelf, allogeneic CAR T immunotherapies across multiple therapeutic areas by combining our EBV-specific T-cell platform, development, manufacturing and regulatory expertise with cutting edge T-cell engineering discoveries by our external collaborators. Our new strategic collaboration with Moffitt Cancer Center builds our novel CAR T preclinical pipeline and has the potential to benefit patients with myeloid and B cell malignancies.”

James J. Mulé, Ph.D., Associate Center Director, Translational Research, and Director of Cell-Based Immunotherapies, Moffitt Cancer Center added, “Atara is a strong technology and development partner. The Company’s clinically advanced EBV-specific T-cell technology platform is complementary to Moffitt’s CAR T engineering and multi-antigen targeting technologies. I look forward to following the progress of Dr. Davila and Atara to develop the next generation of CAR T immunotherapies.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Atara will contribute resources and relevant experience to the research activities at Moffitt. Further terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

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