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MaxCyte on track to start first-ever clinical trial before the end of the year

The phase I clinical study will evaluate the safety of MaxCyte's MCY-M11 chimeric antigen receptor in people with relapsed or difficult-to-treat ovarian cancer and peritoneal mesothelioma
car-t cells definition
CAR-T therapies re-engineer the blood to recognise cancer cells that have been 'hiding'

MaxCyte Inc (LON:MXCT) expects to dose the first patients in its first-ever clinical trial before the end of this year.

Over summer, the US Food and Drug Administration gave the company investigational new drug clearance for MCY-M11, a chimeric antigen receptor that targets solid tumours.

READ: All you need to know about CAR-T therapies

The phase I clinical study will evaluate the safety of the potential treatment in people with relapsed or difficult-to-treat ovarian cancer and peritoneal mesothelioma (a form of cancer that affects the abdomen).

MaxCyte used its CARMA platform to develop the cancer treatment. The technology incites the body’s own immune system to tackle the killer disease, which is a hot area at the moment.

New and innovative tech

What’s new and innovative, even for this very new and innovative strand of research, is that CARMA is being designed to grapple with solid tumours.

The breakthroughs in this field, such as CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) T-cell immuno-therapies, fight blood-borne illness, and yet 90% of cancers are solid tumours.

Chief executive Doug Doerfler repeated his statement that the regulatory sign-off marked an “important milestone” for MaxCyte.

“We hope that the results of this upcoming phase I study, which we plan to start before year-end, will serve as validation of our proprietary CARMA drug platform as a whole,” read Monday’s half-year report.

MaxCyte isn’t the typical, binary, heads-you-win, tails-you-lose drug developer you find traditionally on AIM.

It has a hybrid business. So, it sells and licenses its cell engineering technology to some of the world’s largest pharma and biotechnology companies.

Revenues rise

As flagged in July’s trading update, revenue climbed 11.6% to US$6.9mln in the six months ended June 30 (H1 17: US$6.2mln), in line with what the market had been expecting.

It is partnered with commercial and academic cell therapy developers and revealed it now has more than 55 licenced programmes covering an increasingly diverse range of fields, including immuno-oncology, gene editing and regenerative medicine.

MaxCyte also increased the number of licences to partners covering clinical-stage programmes to more than 25 (up from 15 at the same point last year).

“We are in an excellent position across the business as MaxCyte continues to grow and gain momentum,” added Doerfler.

“This is a very exciting and important time for the company, our partners and patients as we bring a new generation of CAR-based cancer treatments into the clinic for the first time and support the increasing number of clinical and commercial advancements of our partners' therapeutics.”

Overall, the company turned a net loss of US$2.2mln (H1 17: US$2.2mln), while cash stood at US$18.8mln (H1 17: US$25.3mln) at the end of the period.

Shares were unchanged at 234p on Monday morning.

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