Sangamo Therapeutics has struck a deal with Mogrify to gain access to a source of cells for use in its allogeneic CAR-Treg therapies. The agreement sees Sangamo pay an upfront fee to get Mogrify to apply its direct cell conversion technology to the generation of regulatory T cells.
Ready access to sources of cells has emerged as a key area of focus for developers of off-the-shelf cell therapies, leading to deals such as Allogene’s alliance with Notch Therapeutics. That deal, like other moves by allogeneic cell therapy players, reflected a desire to replace the finite donated T cells used in early off-the-shelf prospects with renewable, more scalable sources of starting materials.
Sangamo has identified Mogrify as a provider of such materials. Mogrify put itself on the map early last year when Darrin Disley, the former leader of Horizon Discovery, joined the startup as CEO and invested in its seed round. Months later, Mogrify raised a $16 million series A round.
Mogrify attracted the interest of Disley, Sangamo and an investor syndicate led by Ahren Innovation Capital on the strength of its technology for converting one human cell type into another human cell type. In the case of the Sangamo deal, Mogrify will use the platform to convert induced pluripotent stem cells and embryonic stem cells into regulatory T cells.
The agreement with Sangamo tasks Mogrify with handling the discovery and optimization of the cell conversion technology. Sangamo will have exclusive rights to use the technology to generate Tregs. By applying its ZFP gene engineering technology to the Tregs, Sangamo plans to develop allogeneic cell therapies for use in the treatment of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
Sangamo is paying an upfront fee of undisclosed size to work with Mogrify. As programs based on the Tregs advance, Mogrify is in line to receive development and regulatory milestones, plus payments linked to product sales.
News of the deal comes months after Sangamo got authorization in the U.K. to run a phase 1/2 trial of an autologous CAR-Treg cell therapy, TX200, in kidney transplant patients. Partnering with Mogrify will support Sangamo’s efforts to get allogeneic cell therapies into the clinic, building on its work with Kite Pharma to apply its technology to off-the-shelf cancer treatments such as CD19 CAR-T prospect KITE-037.
Having formed the pact with Sangamo, Mogrify now has two commercial deals with U.S. biopharma companies. The deals will provide Mogrify with a source of money as it works on internal cell therapy candidates in disease areas including musculoskeletal, autoimmune and cancer.