Per the agreement, Erytech Pharma granted SQZ Biotechnologies an exclusive worldwide license to develop antigen-specific immune modulating therapies using red blood cell (RBC)-based approaches.
This license will combine SQZ’s proprietary cell engineering platform, Cell Squeeze, with Erytech’s RBC-based therapeutics to enable the development of a pipeline of immunomodulatory products for multiple indications.
SQZ’s lead program uses its cell engineering capabilities to create antigen presenting cells and generate antigen-specific solid tumor treatments through its Cell Squeeze platform. SQZ is also developing RBC-derived therapeutics to induce antigen-specific immune modulation for multiple disorders.
Erytech is eligible to receive $57m (€50m) in combined upfront and potential development costs, with regulatory and commercial milestone payments for the first product developed by SQZ. Erytech will also be eligible to receive up to $50m in commercial milestone payments related to each additional approved product or approved indication.
Currently, Erytech’s lead cancer metabolism product candidate, eryaspase, is currently being evaluated in a pivotal Phase III trial for pancreatic cancer and a Phase II trial for triple negative breast cancer.
Gil Beyen, CEO of Erytech, said in a statement that it hopes to expand upon its immune modulation to “realize the potential of immune-modulating RBC-based therapeutics in the clinic.”
Dual platform capabilities
Erytech’s platform technology functions across multiple applications including onco-metabolism, rare metabolic disease, immune tolerance and cancer immunotherapy, creating an intellectual property portfolio relating to RBC-based therapeutics.
According to Erytech, SQZ’s platform was able to highlight the potential of anti-gen loaded RBCs to modulate immune function by inducing protein-specific tolerance and generating antigen-specific immune response and tumor growth control in vivo.
Its immune tolerance programs include tolerizing antigen carriers (TACs) for type I diabetes, as well as TACs engineered to treat patients with additional immune disorders.