AbelZeta, a global clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of innovative cell therapies for cancer, inflammatory and immunological diseases, announced an agreement with AstraZeneca to co-develop C-CAR031, an autologous, armored GPC3-targeting chimeric antigen receptor T Cells (CAR-T) therapy, in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).C-CAR031 is based on a new GPC3-targeting CART (AZD5851), which is produced in China by AbelZeta and was created by AstraZeneca using their dominant negative armoring discovery platform, transforming growth factor-beta receptor II (TGFβRII).
HCC accounts for over 50% of all new cases worldwide, with 466 thousand new cases reported year, making it one of the most common malignancies and a leading cause of cancer-related deaths in China1. The greater China region accounts for about 45% of HCC-related mortality globally.2.
As per the terms of the deal, AstraZeneca will pay AbelZeta up front for co-developing and commercialising C-CAR031 in China. AstraZeneca is the only company developing, producing, and marketing AZD5851 outside of China; AbelZeta is also entitled to milestone payments and royalties for this work.
Preliminary safety, effectiveness, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamic data from an investigator-initiated trial (IIT) in China demonstrating strong PK/PD profiles and promising anti-tumor activity for C-CAR031 in patients with advanced HCC were presented by the company at AACR 2023.