PureTech Health launched a new immuno-oncology firm earlier this week—Vor BioPharma.
The newcomer is working on developing drugs through an antigen receptor T-cell therapy (CAR-T) platform, which alters an individual’s immune cells in order to attack invading cancer cells, reported FierceBiotech. The company licensed its technology from the lab of Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, a Pulitzer-Prize winning author and assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University.
Typically, the launch of new biotech startups tend to have a few things in common, like a run-down of who the investors are and how much money is behind the venture, noted STAT.
Vor’s arrival, though, has remained shrouded in mystery. Its CAR-T candidates are still in animal trials and the enterprise hasn’t provided details on a timeline for the clinical stages, according toSTAT.
Furthermore, the publication stated that Dr. Mukherjee’s “resume as a drug hunter is comparatively light.” He’s done extensive work in blood cancer as well as written a number of journal articles, but these papers never focused on CAR-T therapy, and the only patent he’s filed has revolved around targeting leukemic stem cells.
Other bold-faced-names joining the startup in advisory roles include Dr. Joseph Bolen, the developer behind blockbuster cancer drug Velcade, and Dr. Derrick Rossi, whose discovery of modified mRNA reprogramming was cited as one of the top 10 medical breakthroughs of 2010 inTime Magazine.
Representatives for Vor haven’t specifically explained what cancer the company plans on targeting.
Xconomy added that companies like Novartis and Juno Therapeutics have seen impressive results when they used this approach to treat certain blood cancers. But it’s still unclear if CAR-T therapy is effective against common solid tumors, and there are harmful side effects because these engineered T cells can attack healthy and unhealthy cells.
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