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Developing Safer, Next-Generation CAR T-Cell Therapies

Rick Fair, president and chief executive officer, Bellicum Pharmaceuticals, discussed the company’s programs and future plans.

“The next 6 months are huge for Bellicum. We have our first data on BPX-603 from the phase 1 study coming in the fourth quarter of this year, we have our first data in prostate cancer with BPX-601 coming in the first quarter of next year. We’re focusing on continued execution of these studies, we really want to get through dose escalation, we want to optimize the dose and schedule of both the cell therapy and the small molecule to give patients the best chance of doing well.”

Bellicum Pharmaceuticals is developing technologies such as their GoCAR technology and their CaspaCIDe technology to make chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies more customizable, efficacious, and safe for patients with solid tumors.

Their proprietary GoCAR technology periodically reactivate the CAR T cells via infusion of a proprietary small molecule, rimiducid via iMC co-activation technology. The co-activation promotes CAR T-cell activation, proliferation, and persistence, and also yields greater anti-tumor effects. The newer caspaCIDe technology represses the CAR T therapy and can very quickly initiate apoptosis for all CAR T-cells. If serious adverse events occur, this safety switch efficiently stops them in their tracks.

Bellicum’s programs incorporate these technologies. Their lead program, BPX-601, utilizes the GoCAR technology to treat solid tumors expressing prostate stem cell antigen and is currently recruiting in a phase 1/2 clinical trial (NCT02744287). Their second-generation CAR T product, BPX-603, incorporates both the GoCAR iMC technology as well as the caspaCIDe safety switch and is currently recruiting in its own phase 1/2 clinical trial (NCT04650451) for HER2+ solid tumors.

GeneTherapyLive spoke with Rick Fair, president and chief executive officer, to learn more about Bellicum’s lead programs in development. He discussed BPX-603, BPX-601, and future plans the company has for these programs.