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UPMC, Avalon GloboCare Ink Partnership to Advance CAR T-Cell Treatments

NEW YORK – The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Hillman Cancer Center and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine on Monday said they will work with Avalon GloboCare to develop more effective cell-based blood cancer treatments including autologous and allogeneic CAR T-cell therapies.

The collaboration with the New Jersey-based biotechnology company will be led by Yen-Michael Hsu, director of UPMC's Immunologic Monitoring and Cellular Products Laboratory. UPMC researchers will use Avalon's FLASH-CAR technology to speed up the development of next-generation CAR-based cellular treatments that are effective in more cancer patients than currently marketed autologous treatments.

"With Avalon GloboCare FLASH-CAR technology, we will use an innovative messenger ribonucleic acid-based technology platform that will allow researchers to create CAR cellular therapies much faster than before — in just one to two days," Hsu said in a statement. "We also believe this approach will reduce toxicity and overall cost associated with current CAR T-cell therapies, meaning more cancer patients could be eligible for this type of cellular therapy."

The FLASH-CAR technology will allow researchers to further personalize CAR T-cell treatments and make them more potent against cancer by engineering cells that target multiple tumor antigens. Avalon and UPMC hope to study the CAR T-cell drugs developed within the collaboration in clinical trials for relapsed or refractory B-cell lymphoblastic leukemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma starting mid-2022.

Avalon and UPMC will also work on "universal" or "off-the-shelf" CAR-based cancer immunotherapies, which are developed from cells from healthy donors and can be developed more quickly and given to more patients. UPMC's Hillman Cancer Center has an Avalon Point-of-Care Modular Autonomous Processing System on site, with which researchers hope to streamline the CAR T-cell manufacturing process, the partners added.

The partners did not disclose the financial terms of their research arrangement.