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Chimeric Therapeutics Limited (ASX:CHM) CEO and Managing Director Jennifer Chow provides an update on the company's trials.
Tim McGowen: We're talking today with Chimeric Therapeutics (ASX:CHM). The company's a clinical-stage cell therapy company focused on bringing the promise of cell therapy to life for more patients with cancer. We have with us Jennifer Chow, who is the CEO and Managing Director. The company has an ASX code of "CHM" and a market cap of around $28m. Jennifer, thanks for your time.
Jennifer Chow: Thanks so much, Tim. Great to see you.
Tim McGowen: Now, there's been a number of announcements from the company since the beginning of 2023. Where we might start is an update on the CHM 1101 trial, which is your CAR T therapy for the treatment of brain tumours. Can you give us an update there to start with?
Jennifer Chow: Yeah, Tim. I would be thrilled to. So, you're absolutely right. It has been a very sort of action-packed first two months for us in 2023. So, CHM 1101 is our chlorotoxin CAR T cell therapy that we licensed from City of Hope that is in a Phase 1a clinical trial at City of Hope for patients, exactly to your point, that have recurrent brain cancer or glioblastoma more specifically. So, very excited that in January we were able to announce that the third dose level of the trial has been completed. And then, just recently, a couple weeks ago, we were able to announce that the first patient in dose level four has actually been dosed as well. And so, just as an update or a reminder for those that know us, that particular trial is four dose levels. So, we're now dosing patients in the fourth and final dose level. And, you know, in the very early dose levels, Tim, in dose levels one and two, we saw some very promising, encouraging signals, both from a safety and an efficacy perspective, where about 70 per cent of the patients were achieving disease stability. So, getting up to these higher dose levels is really exciting for us and actually starting to turn towards completion of the trial.
Tim McGowen: Thanks, Jennifer. Now, if we touch on your 0201 trial, which is for the treatment of solid tumours and blood cancer, can you give us an update on that trial?
Jennifer Chow: Yeah, absolutely. So, we've had announcements on that trial as well since the beginning of the year. So, CHM 0201 is our natural killer or NK cell platform, and that's a platform we licensed at the end of last year in from Case Western. And that particular asset had already been studied in a Phase 1a clinical trial, and we presented those results last year. And, again, we saw some really encouraging things with those results. We saw safety. Importantly, we saw persistence of the NK cells, which really just means that the NK cells were staying alive once they were put in the body. And then we saw efficacy in both colorectal cancers as well as in the blood cancer acute myeloid leukaemia. And so, based on the initial signal we saw in the first trial, Tim, what we were really looking to do is say, "How can we actually build off that and improve the efficacy that we were seeing for patients?" And so, a second trial, a Phase 1b trial, was designed, and it actually combines our NK cells, so CHM 0201, with an agent called Vactosertib. And the job of Vactosertib is really to allow the NK cells to do a better job against the tumours. And so, that particular trial was initiated last year, and we were thrilled in January to actually already achieve the first patient being dosed. So, with that trial, you know, that announcement again came within the last couple months, we're now continuing to enrol patients on that trial and looking forward to completing that trial within the next 12 months.
Tim McGowen: And, Jennifer, today you announced the completion of the viral vector manufacturing for the Phase 1 trial of 2101. Can you talk to the significance of that announcement?
Jennifer Chow: Yeah, absolutely. So, that really is the third piece of our pipeline, CHM 2101. That's our CDH17 CAR T, Tim, that we actually licensed from the University of Pennsylvania. And we're very eager to get that one into clinic. So, that one had incredible preclinical data that was published in Nature Cancer last year, where we saw that CAR T actually eradicate all cancer cells across eight different types of cancer. And so, what we've really been working on is putting together all of the pieces that are necessary to initiate that Phase 1 clinical trial for that agent. The announcement that we made today, actually, saying that the vector for that CHM 2101 had been manufactured and gone through quality release was really important because vector is really the backbone of a CAR T. And vector very often takes a year to two years because there's certainly a shortage of vector suppliers now. So, that was a really important milestone for us to achieve to enable us actually to move forward to open that clinical trial. So, now we're really, you know, focused on getting all of the documents and the pieces in place so that we can do an IND (Investigational New Drug) submission for that agent and then open that clinical trial later this year.
Tim McGowen: And, Jennifer, is it important for Chimeric to have a portfolio approach, with different drugs targeting different cancers?
Jennifer Chow: Yeah, I think it's… You know, it's important for anybody, right, when you think about sort of how you want to build a company using different sort of diversified thinking and innovative assets. So, for us, we've been really mindful about how we've chosen the assets and brought them into the company. We use different types of cells. So, some of our assets use T-cells. Some of our assets use natural killer cells. And we use different types of cell sources. So, some of our assets, Tim, are what are referred to as autologous or personalised, where we're using a patient's own cells to generate their therapy. And some of our assets are allogeneic or what we call "off the shelf", and that's where a healthy donor actually gives their cells so that we can make therapies. And I think that diversification, and certainly with our assets, they're synergistic, we can actually cross-pollinate them, it really allows us more opportunity to be able to impact more cancer types and so certainly be able to help more patients in the long term.
Tim McGowen: And looking ahead through the rest of 2023, what sort of milestones are you hoping to achieve?
Jennifer Chow: Yeah, so, Tim, we have a really active sort of next 12 to 18 months, mostly focused on clinical outcomes. And so, with 1101, we're really looking to complete that Phase 1a clinical trial, and then, by the end of the year, provide those preliminary data sets. With 2101, the CDH17 CAR, we're looking to move that into clinic at the IND approval and move that one into clinic. And, with 0201, the NK platform, we're really looking there to actually recruit and complete enrolment of that trial within the next 12 months. So, really, you know, the next sort of 12 to 18 months is all focused on moving all of our clinical programs forward and starting to really read out those important early data sets.
Tim McGowen: Jennifer Chow, thanks for your time.
Jennifer Chow: Thanks so much, Tim. It was great to see you.
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