Ziopharm is developing our technologies in partnership and collaboration with several organizations: Precigen Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Intrexon Corporation; MD Anderson Cancer Center; the National Cancer Institute (NCI); and Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.
Precigen, Inc., is the healthcare-focused, wholly-owned subsidiary of Intrexon Corporation (NYSE: XON). Through utilization of Intrexon’s proprietary technology platforms, Precigen is developing gene and cell therapy candidates in an array of therapeutic areas including advanced lymphoid malignancies, acute myeloid leukemia, pediatric brain tumors, solid tumors, oral mucositis, type 1 diabetes, wet age-related macular degeneration, Clostridium difficile infection, linear scleroderma, and cardiac disease. As the exclusive oncology partner of Precigen and Intrexon, Ziopharm is developing its Controlled IL-12 and Sleeping Beauty-modified T cells.
MD Anderson Cancer Center
In 2015, Ziopharm and Intrexon (now Precigen) entered into a license agreement with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The license gives our companies exclusive, worldwide rights to certain technologies owned and licensed by MD Anderson, including technologies relating to novel chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapies, Natural Killer (NK Cell) therapies, non-viral gene transfer systems, genetic modification and/or propagation approaches, and T-cell receptor (TCR) therapies. These approaches each arose from the laboratory of Laurence Cooper, M.D., Ph.D., who was a tenured professor of pediatrics at MD Anderson at the time of the agreement. Following this licensing agreement, Dr. Cooper became Ziopharm’s Chief Executive Officer.
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
In 2017, Ziopharm and Intrexon (now Precigen) entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the National Cancer Institute, or NCI, bringing together the clinical development expertise and resources of the NCI with Ziopharm’s Sleeping Beauty platform. Under the agreement, the NCI will lead a Phase 1 trial to evaluate adoptive cell transfer immunotherapies using the Sleeping Beauty transposon/transposase system to express T-cell receptors (TCRs) for the treatment of solid tumors. These genetically modified TCRs are designed to recognize and attack specific neoantigens expressed within a patient’s cancer.
Ziopharm and Precigen currently have a worldwide license and collaboration agreement with Ares Trading S.A., a subsidiary of Merck KGaA. The parties have established a collaboration for the research, development, commercialization of products for prophylactic, therapeutic, palliative or diagnostic use in human cancer. Under this agreement, Ares/Merck KGaA has elected two CAR+T targets for clinical development and commercialization. We expect to perform multiple preclinical development programs through this partnership.