NEW YORK – Celsius Therapeutics said today that it has signed collaboration agreements with the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, Institut Gustave Roussy in France, and the University Health Network in Toronto, Canada, under which it will use its proprietary single-cell genomics platform to test tissue samples from cancer patients receiving immune checkpoint inhibitor treatment.
The three investigations will be focused on triple-negative breast cancer, bladder cancer, and kidney cancer, respectively, with the goal of discovering novel molecular mechanisms and targets for drug discovery. Financial terms of the agreements were not disclosed.
"The heterogeneity of response in immunotherapy studies suggests that a deeper understanding of disease biology and patient subpopulations is needed to fully realize the potential of this approach," Celsius CEO Tariq Kassum said in a statement. "These new partnerships highlight our interest in broadly engaging the academic community to better elucidate the cellular ecosystem of cancer, with the ultimate goal of translating new insights into novel precision medicines for patients."
In the three studies, Celsius will generate and study single-cell data from patient biopsy samples taken pre- and post-treatment with immune checkpoint inhibitors, using machine learning algorithms and functional genomics to identify and prioritize targets for drug discovery.
Under the agreements, the company will have the right to integrate resulting data, and patient clinical information, into its growing database.
"Across just these three collaborations, we expect to analyze more than 300 longitudinal samples from over 150 patients, a scale that is unprecedented for single-cell genomics," said Christoph Lengauer, Celsius' cofounder and CSO, in a statement. "Combined with the associated clinical data that is being gathered from these studies, we are building a massive database that will be leveraged to develop novel precision medicines."