Developing a Pipeline of Firsts
Fitzsimons Innovation Community’s Atara Biotherapeutics is on a mission to “unleash the natural power of the body’s immune system by harnessing the compelling biological features of T cells—the immune system’s most effective weapon in fighting disease.”
The company took a giant step forward in December 2022, making history with a world-first approval in Europe for its allogeneic T-cell therapy, EbvalloTM. Ebvallo was cleared for use as a monotherapy for adults and children with Epstein-Barr virus positive post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease (EBV+ PTLD). EBV+ PTLD is a rare, acute, and potentially deadly hematologic malignancy that occurs after transplantation when a patient’s T-cell immune response is compromised by immunosuppression.
What defines Atara as a leader in the cell therapy field is its transformative immunotherapy platform. Atara develops off-the-shelf cell therapies for difficult-to-treat cancers and autoimmune conditions. Its novel platform has the potential to be produced in large quantities from a single donor and stored in advance of patient need ready for rapid delivery within days.
Atara’s novel technology does not require T-cell receptor or HLA gene editing and forms the basis of a diverse portfolio of investigational therapies that target EBV, the root cause of certain diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS). Recent evidence shows that EBV is the leading cause of MS, which is why Atara is investigating the potential of the EBV T-cell technology platform to treat progressive MS. By pursuing an approach that is specifically targeting only EBV-infected immune cells while limiting the likelihood of harming normal tissues, Atara aims to fundamentally alter MS disease progression. The same technology is being leveraged to develop next-generation AlloCAR-Ts designed for potential best-in-class programs to overcome current limitations of CAR-T therapies across a broad range of non-EBV-associated liquid and solid tumors.
The Atara site at Fitzsimons Innovation Community is a world-class manufacturing facility with a research and development focus. Atara’s expertise, talent, and track record of firsts elevate Colorado’s presence as a cell and gene therapy hub.
“We are proud to be a part of this community and local network with other leading companies to build a flourishing biotech hub enabled by top-tier talent, universities, entrepreneurial start-ups, and established companies both large and small,” said Alexander Chapman, VP Corporate Communications & Public Affairs. “As one of the organizations driving the next wave of innovation in cell therapy, we are particularly excited in the promise of allogeneic T-cell therapies for patients.”