SQZ Biotechnologies, a clinical stage cell therapy company, has recently announced its first patient to be dosed in Phase 1 trial of SQZ-PBMC-HPV for treating HPV+ tumor patients. SQZ Biotech engineers cell therapy candidates for patients suffering from cancer and other critical illnesses. This occasion marks a milestone for SQZ, being the first patient dosed with cell therapy candidate from its proprietary cell engineering technology, Cell Squeeze.
SQZ-PBMC-HPV, an autologous cell therapy candidate, contains APCs (antigen presenting cells), engineered by SQZ for production of CD8 T cell responses to treat HPV16. SQZ’s rapid manufacturing method and novel technology helped in the manufacture of the dose in less than 24 hours. Additional doses from the Phase 1 trial are cryopreserved and available on demand.
To help combat critical challenges posed by HPV+ tumor, NCT04084951, a Phase 1 multi-center trial was introduced. The objectives of this trial were to assess the safety and tolerability of various booster schedules and doses, as well as determining the dose of SQZ-PBMC-HPV recommended for various HPV+ tumors treatment protocols, as monotherapy as well as in combination with checkpoint inhibitor atezolizumab (Tecentriq™).
SQZ’s founder and CEO, Dr. Armon Sharei Ph.D., stated that this discovery has marked a momentous achievement in their first cell therapy treatment indicating a step forwards towards creating a strong identity for the company and progressing towards their mission to influence patients’ lives. SQZ is technologically advancing towards achieving therapeutic efficacy and improving the lives of patients with cancer and other deadly diseases.
The company is currently focusing on bringing novel changes using its SQZ-PBMC-HPV platform to address the yet-unmet needs of over 35,000 new patients with HPV+ cancers in the U.S., as per a statement made by SQZ’s chief medical officer and MD, Oliver Rosen.
Immunogenic effects such as CD8 T cell response generation as well as therapeutic efficacy will be evaluated as clinical secondary endpoints. The clinal study will involve HLA-A*02+ patients with recurrent, metastatic or locally-advanced HPV16+ head and neck, cervical, penile, vulval, anal, and vaginal cancers. The SQZ-sponsored trial is a part of SQZ-Roche tie-up on antigen-presenting cells in the field of oncology.