Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee has partnered with Puretech Health to launch a new biotechnology and immuno-oncology company to broaden the use of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy. Dr. Mukherjee, a Columbia University researcher, hematologist, oncologist, and Pulitzer Prize–winning author of “The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer,” (New York: Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster, 2011) is licensing his CAR T-cell technology to the joint venture, called Vor BioPharma .

Vor BioPharma will focus on advancing and expanding CAR T-cell therapy , a relatively new cancer treatment where T cells are first collected from a patient’s blood and then genetically engineered to produce CAR proteins on their surface. The CAR proteins are designed to bind specific antigens found on the patient’s cancer cells. These genetically engineered T cells are grown in a laboratory and then infused into the patient. As of now, CAR T-cell therapy is primarily used to treat B-cell leukemias and other chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

“We continue to make great strides in developing new ways to treat cancer using the body’s immune system,” said Dr. Mukherjee in a written statement announcing the partnership. “The positive clinical response researchers have achieved with CAR T-cell therapies in B-cell leukemias has led to great interest within the oncology community and is something we hope to achieve in other cancers over time,” he said.

“CAR T-cell therapies have shown remarkable progress in the clinic, yet their applicability beyond a small subset of cancers is currently very limited,” said Dr. Sanjiv Sam Gambhir of Stanford University and a member of the Vor Scientific Advisory Board. “This technology seeks to address bottlenecks that prevent CAR T-cell therapy from becoming more broadly useful in treating cancers outside of B-cell cancers.”

Other Vor BioPharma employees and Scientific Advisory Board members include Dr. Joseph Bolen, former President and Chief Scientific Officer of Moderna Therapeutics; Dr. Dan Littman of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute; and Dr. Derrick Rossi of Harvard University.


On Twitter @jess_craig94