Reported Initial Key Takeaways in January 2021 Showing RTX-240 Stimulates Innate and Adaptive Immunity; Additional Clinical Results to be Presented in Early 2021
Escalated the Dose in RTX-240 Phase 1 Clinical Trial in Relapsed/Refractory Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Screening Patients in RTX-321 Phase 1 Clinical Trial in Advanced Human Papillomavirus 16-Positive Cancers
CAMBRIDGE Mass., Feb. 23, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Rubius Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:RUBY), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company that is genetically engineering red blood cells to create an entirely new class of cellular medicines called Red Cell Therapeutics™, today reported fourth quarter and full year 2020 financial results and provided a business update.
“Last year was one of strong execution for Rubius Therapeutics as we advanced our clinical trials in oncology and strengthened our in-house manufacturing capabilities,“ said Pablo J. Cagnoni, M.D., president and chief executive officer of Rubius Therapeutics. “2021 is set to be an important year in which we plan to further advance our programs and report the clinical results from the Phase 1 trial of RTX-240 in advanced solid tumors early in the year. We are encouraged by the initial key clinical takeaways we presented in January, showing the ability of RTX-240 to stimulate innate and adaptive immune responses in advanced solid tumors. We are continuing to enroll patients in our trials for RTX-240 in relapsed/refractory acute myeloid leukemia and solid tumors and screen patients for the RTX-321 trial in advanced HPV 16-positive cancers.“
Fourth Quarter and Full Year Highlights
RTX-240 Phase 1/2 Clinical Program for Advanced Solid Tumors or Relapsed/Refractory Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)
- Escalated the dose and continue to enroll patients in the relapsed/refractory AML arm of the Phase 1 RTX-240 clinical trial
- At the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in January 2021, the Company presented key takeaways from 5 cohorts (n=14) of the Phase 1/2 RTX-240 solid tumor clinical trial, showing activation and expansion of both NK and T cells, indicating the ability of RTX-240 to stimulate innate and adaptive immune responses. The key takeaways from the initial data were:◦ No treatment-related Grade 3 or Grade 4 adverse events and no dose limiting toxicities observed (n=14)◦ All patients showed activation of NK or T cells or both cell types (n=14)◦ In the majority of patients (n=8), all of the following were observed across dose levels:• Activation of NK cells, activation of T cells, expansion of NK cells and expansion of T cells
- As more patients are enrolled and data mature, the Company expects to disclose additional clinical results in early 2021 and plans to present the data at a medical conference
By showing that RTX-240 stimulates innate and adaptive immune responses, Rubius Therapeutics believes that the full data set from the Phase 1 clinical trial will validate its RED PLATFORM® and potentially de-risk clinical development of its oncology pipeline, in particular for RTX-321. RTX-321 has an encouraging preclinical data package and expresses combinations of agonists on the cell surface, similar to RTX-240.
RTX-321 Artificial Antigen-Presenting Cell (aAPC) Development Program for Human Papillomavirus (HPV) 16-Positive Cancers
- Phase 1 clinical trial of RTX-321 is screening for HLA-A*02:01-positive patients with advanced HPV 16-positive cancers, including cervical cancer, head and neck cancer and anal cancer
Achievements from Rubius Fully Owned Manufacturing Site
- Continue to provide consistent cGMP supply for the two Phase 1 arms in the ongoing RTX-240 trial and Phase 1 RTX-321 clinical trial
- Achieved increases in productivity and liquid in-vial shelf life for RTX-240
- Continously met red blood cell identity and target product profile criteria for clinical supply for RTX-240
- Introduced frozen drug substance for the first time as part of the IND application for RTX-321, resulting in a truly off-the-shelf cellular therapy with a potential shelf life of up to several years
Preclinical Data 2020 Summary
The Company presented preclinical oncology data for RTX-240 and RTX-321 at the following conferences:
- Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) Annual Meeting;
- Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies (FOCIS) Virtual Annual Meeting;
- American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Tumor Immunology Conference; and
- American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy 23rd Annual Meeting
Anticipated 2021 Catalysts and Operational Objectives
- Present additional clinical data from the Phase 1 RTX-240 solid tumor trial in early 2021
- Continue to enroll patients in the second Phase 1 arm of the RTX-240 clinical trial in patients with relapsed/refractory AML
- Dose the first patient in the RTX-321 clinical trial in HPV 16-positive tumors
- Continue to produce cGMP material for the RTX-240 and RTX-321 clinical trials
- Present an integrated clinical program for RTX-240, including plans for expansion cohorts, and plans for the Company's oncology pipeline
RTX-240, Rubius Therapeutics' lead oncology program, is an allogeneic, off-the-shelf cellular therapy product candidate that is engineered to simultaneously present hundreds of thousands of copies of the costimulatory molecule 4-1BB ligand (4-1BBL) and IL-15TP (trans-presentation of IL-15 on IL-15Rα) in their native forms. RTX-240 is designed to broadly stimulate the immune system by activating and expanding both NK and memory T cells to generate a potent anti-tumor response.
RTX-321, the Company's second oncology program, is an allogeneic, off-the-shelf aAPC therapy product candidate that is engineered to induce a tumor-specific immune response by expanding antigen-specific T cells. RTX-321 expresses hundreds of thousands of copies of an HPV peptide antigen bound to major histocompatibility complex class I proteins, the costimulatory molecule 4-1BBL and the cytokine IL-12 on the cell surface to mimic human T cell-APC interactions.
Fourth Quarter 2020 Financial Results
Net loss for the fourth quarter of 2020 was $40.5 million or $0.50 per common share, compared to $44.5 million or $0.56 per common share in the fourth quarter of 2019.
In the fourth quarter of 2020, Rubius invested $25.6 million in research and development (R&D) related to its novel RED PLATFORM® and towards expanding and advancing its product pipeline, as compared to $30.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2019. This year-over-year decrease was driven primarily by a $6.2 million reduction in costs following the deprioritization of our rare disease pipeline in March 2020. The decrease in rare disease program expenses was offset by $8.4 million of incremental costs to advance our lead cancer programs, including RTX-240 and RTX-321, which were principally related to costs incurred for our Phase 1/2 clinical trial of RTX-240 for the treatment of solid tumors, including clinical CRO and internal manufacturing costs, as well as to costs incurred for IND-enabling activities and clinical startup costs for RTX-321. Additionally, R&D expenses not allocated to programs were reduced by $7.1 million driven primarily by a shift in manufacturing activities towards the technical development and production of clinical supply for our oncology programs and the shift in discovery activities from the development of clinical candidates towards work to enable more advanced programs.
G&A expenses were $14.1 million during the fourth quarter of 2020, as compared to $14.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2019. The lower costs were principally driven by a reduction in stock-based compensation expense.
Full Year 2020 Financial Results
Net loss for the full year 2020 was $167.7 million or $2.08 per common share, compared to $163.5 million or $2.08 per common share for the full year 2019.
For the full year 2020, Rubius invested $116.1 million in R&D related to its novel RED PLATFORM® and towards expanding and advancing its product pipeline, compared to $112.4 million for the full year 2019. The year-over-year increase was driven by $36.6 million of incremental costs to advance our lead cancer programs, including RTX-240 and RTX-321, which were principally related to costs incurred for our Phase 1/2 clinical trial of RTX-240 for the treatment of solid tumors, including clinical CRO and internal manufacturing costs, as well as to costs incurred for preclinical, IND-enabling activities and clinical startup costs for RTX-321. The increase in cancer program costs was offset by ...
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