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Developing Customizable CAR T-Cell Therapies

Rick Fair, president and chief executive officer, Bellicum Pharmaceuticals, discussed the company’s GoCAR, iMC, and caspaCIDe technologies.

“Bellicum’s approach is really to leverage differentiated molecular switches and cell signaling technologies to lead to more potent and hopefully more powerful and efficacious cell therapies, while at the same time making them more controllable, to hopefully make them safer as well. We do that through our molecular switch platform we call GoCAR. And that's what we're trying to contribute to the space.”

Bellicum Pharmaceuticals is aiming to make chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies more customizable to make sure they are both efficacious and safe for patients with solid tumors. Two technologies they’ve developed to help do so are their GoCAR technology and their CaspaCIDe technology.

The GoCAR technology uses iMC co-activation technology to periodically reactivate the CAR T cells via infusion of a proprietary small molecule, rimiducid. This ‘accelerator’ leads to greater CAR T-cell activation, proliferation, and persistence, as well as greater anti-tumor effects. Their caspaCIDe technology acts as a ‘brake’ and can very quickly initiate apoptosis for all CAR T-cells, effectively stopping serious adverse events in their tracks.

Bellicum’s lead program, BPX-601, utilizes the GoCAR technology to treat solid tumors expressing prostate stem cell antigen, while their second-generation CAR T product, BPX-603, incorporates both the GoCAR iMC technology as well as the caspaCIDe safety switch. Both BPX-601 (NCT02744287) and BPX-603 (NCT04650451) are currently recruiting in phase 1/2 clinical trials.

GeneTherapyLive spoke with Rick Fair, president and chief executive officer, to learn more about Bellicum’s technologies. He discussed the science behind the GoCAR technology, iMC activation, and the caspaCIDe safety switch.