MD Anderson In Line for Big Payment to License CAR T Cell Therapy

MD Anderson Cancer Center is in line to receive $100 million in publicly traded stock as part of a licensing agreement that involves one of the most exciting emergent treatment avenues in oncology.

Both biotech company Intrexon and partner ZIOPHARM Oncology will pay MD Anderson $50 million apiece for the rights to license technology discovered at the University of Minnesota and then developed for human use at MD Anderson. The technology is a form of immunotherapy known as CAR T cell therapy; it involves customizing T cells to find and kill cancer cells.

MD Anderson President Is Encouraged By Agreement

"Genetically engineering our patients' immune-system T cells to efficiently attack and destroy cancer cells represents one of the most exciting approaches with curative potential in oncology today," said MD Anderson President Dr. Ron DePinho. "We believe coupling MD Anderson's unique CAR T cell approach with the powerful technologies of ZIOPHARM and Intrexon will allow us to build T cells that hit cancer harder, with greater precision, under tighter control and with potentially fewer side effects for patients."

In CAR T cell therapy, doctors remove a patient's T cells, implant a gene in them and infuse them back into the patient. The genetically engineered T cells are then awakened to go after the cancer.

Source: MD Anderson

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