Penn Medicine announced the conclusion of an exclusive partnership with Novartis; however, they will continue to collaborate on specific cancer research initiatives, including four clinical trials involving CAR T-cell therapy for different kinds of cancer.
CAR T-cell breakthroughs originated out of the research in Philadelphia with support from the Basel, Switzerland-based global pharmaceutical company. In fact, the Daily Pennsylvanian reports that CAR T-cell therapy was developed by Perelman School of Medicine professor Carl June while working on re-engineering patients’ white blood cells to recognize, fight and destroy cancer cells in the body.
First Commercialized Gene Therapy
Penn and Novartis have been involved with a deep collaboration since 2012, which ultimately led to new advanced commercial therapies such as Kymriah, the first gene therapy to be approved for cancer treatment.
The Novartis-Penn Center for Advanced Cellular Therapeutics
In 2016 the two prominent organizations created the Novartis-Penn Center for Advanced Cellular Therapeutics in 2016. The Center expanded the laboratory space and financial support for new immunotherapy research at Penn. The new facility is a marquee component of Penn’s translational science efforts to expedite the development of novel therapies for many types of disease. The collaboration with Novartis was announced in August 2012, when the two organizations entered the exclusive global research and licensing agreement to further study and commercialize novel CAR therapies. The CACT was constructed in part through a $20 million investment from Novartis, and will employ 100 highly specialized cell therapy professionals working across 23,610 square feet of laboratory and cell therapy manufacturing space.
The two organizations will continue working on CAR T-cell treatments.