Media Release: 31 July 2018

Carina BiotechAdelaide’s Carina Biotech has been awarded a $2.1 million Cooperative Research Centre Project (CRC-P) Program grant to continue its groundbreaking work developing new cell therapies to treat solid, pediatric and rare cancers. 

Carina Biotech, spun out of the Cooperative Research Centre for Cell Therapy  manufacturing, is focused on chimeric antigen T cell (CAR-T) therapy, an immunotherapy technology that has already delivered stunning results in the treatment of blood cancers by using a patient’s own immune system to fight their cancer. Similar results have not yet been seen in the treatment of solid cancers, which comprise the majority of diagnosed cancers. Carina is developing broad-spectrum CAR-T therapies targeted to treat solid cancers including pediatric and rare cancers.

Carina’s Managing Director Dr Justin Coombs said: “This funding will enable us to advance our lead technologies through preclinical development, and to fund further and deeper research to expand our current technology platform. At the end of the CRC-P project we hope to have a solid cancer CAR-T therapy ready for a first-in-man clinical trial.”

Carina’s research leaders include Professor Simon Barry, co-appointed to the Women’s & Children’s Hospital and the University of Adelaide. Professor Barry is an expert in T cell biology and the co-inventor of Carina’s first CAR-T cell, which has already shown it can kill a diverse range of cancers in vitro and is about to enter the next stage of preclinical testing.

“We are delighted to have secured this funding, which will enable us to carefully test the full potential of this novel CAR-T therapy to target many solid tumour types. If this proves effective, we will be able to move into clinical trials with strong pre-clinical data,” said Professor Barry. 

As well as conducting further research into developing new solid cancer-targeting CAR-T cells, Carina’s researchers are also developing technologies to improve the ability of CAR-T cells to access solid tumours including a thermoresponsive gel formulation to deliver CAR-T cells directly to tumours, and a genetic ‘homing signal’ that could be used to attract CAR-T cells to solid tumours.

Carina will continue its successful partnerships and collaborations with the Women’s & Children’s Hospital, the University of Adelaide, the University of South Australia, Seattle Children’s Hospital in the United States, and GeneWorks.

For more information on Carina Biotech and its work, contact Dr Justin Coombs
on +61477 312 614 or justin@carinabiotech.com