For Kevin Friedman, the secret to making newly emergent Kelonia Therapeutics Inc. a success is reducing complexity and keeping everything as simple as possible. The Boston-based company just raised $50 million in series A funding to further its development of genetic medicines encompassing a range of diseases.
Solid tumors have been a tougher nut to crack for CAR T cells than B-cell cancers, for two main reasons. Solid tumors have an inhibitors microenvironment that has made it difficult to get durable responses. And identifying antigens as specific as the B-cell markers CD19 and CD22 has been challenging, leading to problems with on-target, off-tumor toxicity.
“We’re still a far cry from reproducible, durable benefits” with CAR T cells targeting solid tumors, Crystal Mackall told the audience at the 2022 annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). But “we’re beginning to see some signals.” Mackall is the founding director of the Stanford Center for Cancer Cell Therapy.