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

1273 Days ago

Focus on multi-targeted CAR T immunotherapies for patients with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) and B-cell malignancies

Collaboration includes novel CAR T targeting and signaling domains designed to optimize T cell proliferation and enhance persistence

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Sept. 06, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Atara Biotherapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATRA), a leading off-the-shelf, allogeneic T-cell immunotherapy company developing novel treatments for patients with cancer, autoimmune and viral diseases, today 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.

About Atara Biotherapeutics, Inc.
Atara Biotherapeutics, Inc. (@Atarabio) is a leading off-the-shelf, allogeneic T-cell immunotherapy company developing novel treatments for patients with cancer, autoimmune and viral diseases. Atara’s most advanced T-cell immunotherapy in development, tab-cel™ (tabelecleucel), is being developed for the treatment of patients with Epstein-Barr virus associated post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (EBV+ PTLD), as well as other EBV associated hematologic and solid tumors, including nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). Atara is also developing off-the-shelf, allogeneic ATA188 and autologous ATA190 T-cell immunotherapies using a complementary targeted antigen recognition technology for specific EBV antigens believed to be important for the potential treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS). Atara's clinical pipeline also includes ATA520 targeting Wilms Tumor 1, or WT1, and ATA230 directed against cytomegalovirus, or CMV. The company was founded in 2012 and is headquartered in South San Francisco, California.

Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains or may imply "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. For example, forward-looking statements include statements regarding: the success of the Company’s strategic collaboration with Moffitt Cancer Center, the ability of CAR T immunotherapies to treat AML and B-cell malignancies, the timing, enrollment and results of the Company’s clinical trials and the potential advantages of its product candidates. Because such statements deal with future events and are based on Atara Biotherapeutics' current expectations, they are subject to various risks and uncertainties and actual results, performance or achievements of Atara Biotherapeutics could differ materially from those described in or implied by the statements in this press release. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, including those discussed under the heading "Risk Factors" in Atara Biotherapeutics' annual report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on February 27, 2018, including the documents incorporated by reference therein, and subsequent filings with the SEC. Except as otherwise required by law, Atara Biotherapeutics disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof, whether as a result of new information, future events or circumstances or otherwise.


John Craighead, Atara Biotherapeutics

Steve Klass, Burns McClellan
212-213-0006 x331

Nancie Steinberg, Burns McClellan
212-213-0006 x318

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