CARLSBAD, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sep. 6, 2023-- Lineage Cell Therapeutics, Inc. (NYSE American and TASE: LCTX), a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing allogeneic cell therapies to replace and restore specific cell types of the human body, today announced the initiation of certain development activities to generate a novel hypoimmune induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) line under the Company’s exclusive option and license agreement (the “Agreement”) with Eterna Therapeutics Inc. (“Eterna”). This marks the next step under the strategic collaboration announced in February 2023, under which Eterna is developing innovative engineered hypoimmune iPSC lines that Lineage will evaluate for differentiation into cell transplant product candidates for central nervous system (CNS) diseases and other neurology indications. Since announcing the deal earlier this year, Lineage has evaluated its development strategy with a group of leading neurology experts in the U.S. and abroad. As a result of these and other discussions, and an assessment of the competitive landscape, Lineage finalized its selection of specific gene edits for the initial cell lines to be developed by Eterna. The edits include: the targeted deletion of the B2M gene, designed to reduce the immunogenicity of product candidates derived from the lines by inhibiting rejection by CD8+ T cells; the targeted insertion of the HLA-E gene, designed to overexpress HLA-E and prevent the allogeneic NK cell response; and a third undisclosed edit intended to confer clinical differentiation and a competitive advantage in the applicable indications. Lineage expects that these edits would expand the edited cell lines’ overall utility, including for non-immune privileged or non-human leukocyte antigen (HLA) matched indications and will further differentiate the cell line from others currently in use by competitors.
“Our partnership with Eterna reflects an important step in a corporate strategy intended to capitalize on our existing process development capabilities by combining them with cutting-edge cell engineering and editing technologies, to create novel and potentially superior product profiles,” stated Brian M. Culley, Chief Executive Officer of Lineage. “This collaboration reflects our effort to broaden the application of our cell therapy platform and our plans for future success in this growing field. We look forward to leveraging our expertise to develop innovative cell transplant therapies that have the potential to transform the treatment of a wide range of diseases by capitalizing on the convergence of directed cell differentiation and manufacturing with modern gene editing technology.”
“We are excited to move forward with the next phase of our partnership with Lineage,” said Matt Angel, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer and President of Eterna. “We believe that pluripotent cell therapies have the potential to significantly outperform traditional approaches in certain settings and that this milestone highlights Eterna’s capabilities for generating novel gene-edited iPSC lines using our mRNA cell engineering platform.”
Under the Agreement, Eterna plans to conduct certain gene-editing activities and provide materials to Lineage for evaluation and Lineage will make payments to Eterna in connection with Eterna’s successful development and delivery to Lineage of certain materials. The Agreement provides Lineage an option to obtain an exclusive license to utilize and sublicense the novel gene-edited cell lines developed by Eterna for preclinical, clinical, and commercial purposes in the field of CNS diseases. Eterna is the exclusive licensee of the key intellectual property underlying this collaboration from its discovery partner Factor Bioscience.