Novartis teams up with Harvard to develop next generation biomaterial systems to deliver immunotherapies

NovartisNovartis announced today that it is teaming up with scientists from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to develop biomaterial systems for its portfolio of immuno-oncology therapies.

The licensed biomaterial systems aim to overcome barriers that have hampered traditional cancer vaccines, including their limited duration of action and lack of targeting to specific cancer cells. Through many years' work, researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), the Wyss Institute, and Dana-Farber have engineered the biomaterial systems with an aim to provide sustained delivery of immunotherapies and target specific types of cancer. Novartis will further collaborate with the team at the Wyss Institute to advance development of the biomaterial systems, investigating their use to deliver agents from its broad and deep portfolio of second-generation immunotherapies.

"Our collaborators have combined the fields of immuno-oncology and material science to develop novel platforms for delivering immunotherapies to combat cancer," said Jay Bradner, President of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR). "We look forward to collaborating with the Wyss Institute to further develop this technology in conjunction with our growing immunotherapy portfolio."

The licensing agreement with Harvard's Office of Technology Development and the collaboration with the Wyss Institute support Novartis' efforts to develop combination immunotherapy regimens. New immunotherapies have benefited subsets of cancer patients, presenting opportunities to develop new immuno-oncology treatment strategies to help more patients [1]. Novartis is developing combination immunotherapies in clinical trials.

The implantable and injectable systems are made of biodegradable materials that assemble into porous, three-dimensional structures. In lab experiments, the systems release cell-recruiting factors to attract host dendritic cells and present tumor antigens to those specialized immune cells, intending to bolster immune responses to cancer [2]. While these systems have yet not been proven in human clinical trials, they hold great promise because of their potential to serve as engineered microenvironments to educate the immune system about cancer and initiate immune responses against tumors over a sustained period of time.

The technologies licensed under this agreement for target-specific applications are owned or co-owned by Harvard University, Dana-Farber, and the University of Michigan.

About Novartis

Novartis provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, cost-saving generic and biosimilar pharmaceuticals and eye care. Novartis has leading positions globally in each of these areas. In 2017, the Group achieved net sales of USD 49.1 billion, while R&D throughout the Group amounted to approximately USD 9.0 billion. Novartis Group companies employ approximately 122,000 full-time-equivalent associates. Novartis products are sold in approximately 155 countries around the world.

1. Nat Rev Cancer. Prospects for combining targeted and conventional cancer therapy with immunotherapy. Gotwals P. et. al. 2017.
2. Nat Commun. Injectable cryogel-based whole-cell cancer vaccines. Bencherif S.A. et al. 2015.

Most Popular Now

Novartis rises to second place in 2018 Access to M…

Novartis ranked second in the 2018 Access to Medicine Index (ATMi), up from 3rd place in 2016, in recognition of its long-standing efforts to improve worldwide access to ...

MSD is looking for a digital health solution to em…

MSD Lebanon is looking for an external partner to co-create a digital solution that helps oncologists to stay updated with relevant clinical content about cancer. The sol...

Sanofi builds focus on rare blood disorders and ca…

Some of the most serious unmet patient needs today are in the field of hematology. Rare blood disorders and blood-related cancers continue to be a major focus of research...

Lilly submits New Drug Application to the FDA for …

Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY) has announced the submission of a New Drug Application (NDA) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for lasmiditan for the acute...

FDA approves new treatment for patients with acute…

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Daurismo (glasdegib) tablets to be used in combination with low-dose cytarabine (LDAC), a type of chemotherapy, for t...

Merck and Pfizer provide update on avelumab in pla…

Merck and Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) today announced that the Phase III JAVELIN Ovarian 200 trial evaluating avelumab* alone or in combination with pegylated liposomal doxor...

New study reveals probiotics do not help children …

Probiotics are a multibillion-dollar industry with marketing claims of being an effective treatment for a multitude of ailments, including diarrhea. However, findings fro...

U.S. FDA approves Larotrectinib, the first TRK inh…

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved larotrectinib, the first oral TRK inhibitor, under the brand name Vitrakvi®. The approval is for the treatment of...

FDA approves first treatment for Lambert-Eaton mya…

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Firdapse (amifampridine) tablets for the treatment of Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS) in adults. LEMS is a r...

Bristol-Myers Squibb awards "Golden Tickets…

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE: BMY) and LabCentral, an innovative, shared laboratory space designed as a launchpad for life-sciences and biotech startups, today anno...

Alcon to highlight its vision, strategy and benefi…

Alcon, the eye care division of Novartis, will today hold its first Capital Markets Day for investors and analysts in relation to the previously-announced intention of No...

Scorpion venom to shuttle drugs into the brain

The Peptides and Proteins lab at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) has published a paper in Chemical Communications describing the capacity of a s...