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Ziopharm Oncology, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZIOP) today announced the initiation of a phase 1 clinical trial to evaluate CD19-specific CAR-T, using its Rapid Personalized Manufacturing (RPM) technology, as an investigational treatment for patients with relapsed CD19+ leukemias and lymphomas. The trial is now open for enrollment at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

In this trial, the Company utilizes its non-viral Sleeping Beauty genetic engineering technology to infuse CAR-T the day after electroporation. Ziopharm’s RPM CD19-specific CAR-T therapy results from the stable, non-viral insertion of DNA into the genome of resting T cells to co-express the chimeric antigen receptor (CAR), membrane-bound IL-15 (mbIL15) and a safety switch.

“We are pleased to expand the scope of our clinical development with MD Anderson, as we seek to evaluate our RPM technology using CD19-specific CAR-T cells,” said Laurence Cooper, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Ziopharm. “RPM is a promising manufacturing solution, as T cells from the bloodstream are genetically reprogramed with DNA plasmids from the Sleeping Beauty system and then simply administered the next day.

“Our CAR-T therapy can be administered at low cell doses, which may control cytokine release syndrome and is appealing for the treatment of patients including those with CD19-expressing malignancies that have relapsed after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT). There are limited effective treatment options for such patients as evidenced by the low rate of remission and poor long-term survival,” Dr. Cooper added.

Up to 24 patients with advanced CD19+ leukemias and lymphomas who have relapsed after allogeneic BMT will be enrolled in this investigator-initiated trial (NCT03579888). The primary endpoint of the study is to determine the safety and maximum tolerated dose of donor-derived genetically modified CD19-specific T cells manufactured using the RPM process. An additional study is planned through Ziopharm’s joint venture with Eden BioCell to evaluate the RPM technology using patient-derived (autologous) CD19-specific CAR-T in Greater China.

Research reveals three-year survival for adults with CD19+ acute lymphoblastic leukemia after allogeneic BMT ranges from 30% to 65%.1 For patients with other CD19+ cancers, allogeneic BMT can provide three-year survival rates between 30% to 75%.1 Few patients experience a durable remission following allogeneic BMT, regardless of the treatment modality, with some having a median survival of only 2 to 3 months.2



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