Terumo Blood and Cell Technologies and PhotonPharma Inc. announce collaboration to develop a novel cancer immunotherapy

12 August 2021 | Thursday | News

1 in 3 people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime1

 Terumo Blood and Cell Technologies (Terumo), a medical device company specializing in a portfolio of technology, software and services for blood component collection, therapeutic apheresis and cellular technologies, and PhotonPharma Inc., a cancer immunotherapy developer, today announced they have established a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for collaboration to develop Innocell, a novel tumor specific immunotherapy (a therapeutic vaccine) for solid tumors. The benefit to patients is that collaborations like this can help improve the speed to market for valuable treatments.


T-cell attaching to cancer cell, illustration T lymphocyte (orange) attached to a cancer cell (blue), illustration. T lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell which matures in the thymus. Certain kinds of T lymphocytes can recognise specific sites (antigens) on the surface of cancer cells or pathogens and bind to them. They can then destroy the cancer cells, or signal for other immune system cells to eliminate them. The genetic changes that cause a cell to become cancerous lead to the present

To help in the caner immunotherapy development process, PhotonPharma is using Terumo's Mirasol® Pathogen Reduction Technology (PRT) in the manufacturing process. The initial agreement authorizes PhotonPharma to reference the Device Master File (DMF) on record with the FDA for the Mirasol system. This DMF will then support the PhotonPharma regulatory submission for its Innocell therapeutic vaccine technology. Additionally, Terumo Blood and Cell Technologies will supply Mirasol illuminators and single-use sets for the immunotherapy preparation process used in the clinical trial.

Mirasol has been used in select markets outside the United States since 2007. Terumo designed Mirasol to reduce pathogen load and inactivate residual white blood cells in whole blood and blood components. PhotonPharma's specific use of Mirasol is a further example of how Terumo's products are being used to develop treatments across the life-sciences sector to help patients gain access to medical therapies.

Another potential therapy in the War Against Cancer
The American Cancer Society's 2021 forecast projects 1.9 million new cancer diagnoses and more than 600,000 cancer deaths. Each day, that's approximately 5,200 newly diagnosed cancer cases and 1,670 cancer deaths. Ninety percent of the cases diagnosed are expected to be from solid tumors2.

Therapeutic cancer vaccines are developed to stimulate a patient's immune system to fight an established cancer. They are different from prophylactic vaccines, which are given to healthy individuals to prevent an infection and related disease.

PhotonPharma developed its technology to be differentiated from other therapeutic cancer vaccines in its potential to preserve solid tumor antigens, cell metabolism and protein translation while also potentially achieving inactivation of cellular replication.

This MOU is the first part of a longer-term collaboration to advance PhotonPharma's Innocell. The collaboration focuses on the development, regulatory approval and future commercialization of PhotonPharma's Innocell vaccine. PhotonPharma is currently preparing an Investigational New Drug (IND) submission related to a phase I clinical trial targeting triple-negative breast cancer.

"This agreement to work together with Terumo increases the potential to advance a new therapy for patients suffering from a variety of solid tumor malignancies including breast cancer," said Dr. Gary Gordon, M.D., Ph.D., former Divisional Vice President of Abbvie Oncology and PhotonPharma board member. "Working together will benefit patients in need of new therapeutic approaches to treat their underlying disease."

Antoinette Gawin, President and Chief Executive Officer, Terumo Blood and Cell Technologies, says: "For Terumo, strategic collaborations increase the potential speed to market and decrease development costs of therapies. This will enable patients to benefit from therapies earlier. Contributing toward the development and commercialization of Innocell enables Terumo to contribute toward the next potential major medical breakthrough."

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