SAN FRANCISCO, June 25, 2020 – Nurix Therapeutics, Inc., a company developing targeted protein modulation drugs, today announced the formation of a new adoptive cell therapy company, DeCART Therapeutics, which has been initially formed as a wholly owned subsidiary of Nurix. DeCART plans to combine the use of Nurix’s proprietary targeted protein modulation drugs with the latest T cell genetic engineering technologies to create a drug-enhanced chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR T) process for cancer. DeCART has been founded by Nurix in partnership with Carl June, M.D., the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania,. Dr. June will lead the DeCART founding team and also serve as the chairman of DeCART’s scientific advisory board.
“On behalf of the founding team, we are very excited to launch DeCART and begin implementing our first drug-enhanced CAR T process with a goal of rapidly advancing towards clinical development,” said Dr. June, “We are encouraged by the preclinical results using CBL-B inhibitors to improve T cell phenotype in a manner that is consistent with delivering anti-tumor activity.”
DeCART’s first program is expected to use Nurix’s small molecule CBL-B inhibitor, NX-0255, for ex vivo enhancement of T cell biology throughout the processing and engineering of CAR T cells. CBL-B is an E3 ligase target that functions as an intracellular immune checkpoint that regulates T cell activation and immune response. DeCART will explore development and commercialization of CAR T cell therapies for both hematologic and solid tumors.
“We are very pleased to work with leaders from the powerful research, clinical, and management team that have made history at the University of Pennsylvania with the first regulatory approval and commercialization of CART19 therapy,” said Arthur T. Sands, M.D., Ph.D., chief executive officer of Nurix. “Together with DeCART, we plan to introduce a new generation of drug-enhanced CAR T products for patients by integrating pharmacologic control of protein levels within T cells.”
DeCART Therapeutics plans to establish operations in Cellicon Valley in the Philadelphia area and will be managed by Ms. Dana Hammill as its chief operating officer. Ms. Hammill is the former director of strategy and business development at the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania where she co-managed Penn-Novartis alliance for commercialization of CART19. Dr. Sands will serve as chairman of the board of directors of DeCART.
About DeCART Therapeutics, Inc.
DeCART Therapeutics is a biotechnology company founded by a team of scientific and business leaders including Carl H. June, M.D., Joseph A. Fraietta, Ph.D., Xian Hua, M.D., Ph.D., and Dana M. Hammill, M.S., M.B.A., from the University of Pennsylvania, and Arthur T. Sands, M.D., Ph.D. and Pierre Beaurang, Ph.D. from Nurix Therapeutics. DeCART expects to combine the power of Nurix’s protein modulation technologies with novel CAR T therapies to address current immunotherapy limitations and improve outcomes for patients with cancer. The name DeCART is derived from an abbreviation of drug-enhanced chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapy (pronounced dā-cart). DeCART will establish operations in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
About Nurix Therapeutics, Inc.
Nurix Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of oral, small molecule therapies designed to modulate cellular protein levels as a novel treatment approach for cancer and immune disorders. Leveraging Nurix’s extensive expertise in E3 ligases together with its proprietary DNA-encoded libraries, Nurix has built DELigase, an integrated discovery platform to identify and advance novel drug candidates targeting E3 ligases, a broad class of enzymes that can modulate proteins within the cell. Nurix’s drug discovery approach is to either harness or inhibit the natural function of E3 ligases within the ubiquitin proteasome system to selectively decrease or increase cellular protein levels. Nurix’s wholly owned pipeline comprises targeted protein degraders of Bruton’s tyrosine kinase, or BTK, a B-cell signaling protein, and inhibitors of Casitas B-lineage lymphoma proto-oncogene-B, or CBL-B, an E3 ligase that regulates T cell activation. Nurix is headquartered in San Francisco, California.
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