WindMIL Therapeutics Announces New Cancer Immunotherapy Approach Based on Marrow-Infiltrating Lymphocytes


BALTIMORE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--WindMIL Therapeutics, a clinical stage company developing Marrow-Infiltrating Lymphocytes (MILs™) for cancer immunotherapy, today presented its novel approach to harnessing a patient’s immune system to treat solid and liquid cancers at The Cell & Gene Meeting on the Mesa in La Jolla, CA.Memory T cells are believed to generate the immune system’s most effective killers, and the role of the bone marrow in the formation and maintenance of memory T cells has become increasingly well-understood. Consistent with this understanding, WindMIL’s co-founders Ivan Borrello, M.D., and Kimberly Noonan, Ph.D., have demonstrated that the bone marrow of patients with both hematologic and solid tumors contain memory T cells that can recognize and destroy tumor cells. They have worked at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine for over a decade to perfect the activation and expansion of the cells they termed ‘MILs™’. WindMIL has exclusively licensed intellectual property related to this pioneering work by Drs. Borrello and Noonan.

“MILs™ represent a novel class of cell therapy,” says Brian Halak, Ph.D., founding Chief Executive Officer of WindMIL. “Owing to their derivation from the bone marrow, a natural reservoir for memory T cells, MILs™ are marked by inherent tumor specificity, low toxicity, and long-term persistence. We believe that our ability to harness this long-term memory component is what differentiates MIL™-therapy from other cell-therapy approaches, which rely predominantly on T cells found in the periphery.”

WindMIL Therapeutics’ lead program is currently enrolling patients in a Phase 2b clinical trial for patients in high risk myeloma ( ID#NCT01858558) and is supported by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

”WindMIL’s focus on harvesting cells from the bone marrow is an innovative way to take cell-therapy forward,” says Marcela V. Maus, M.D., Ph.D., Massachusetts General Hospital. “While the majority of cell therapy companies are exploring novel genetic modifications to peripherally derived cells, WindMIL’s ability to harness the bone marrow memory population could be a meaningful advantage.”

Scientific Advisory Board

WindMIL’s scientific advisory board includes scientific co-founder Dr. Borrello; Kenneth Anderson, M.D., Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a leading expert in the field of multiple myeloma; Marcela V. Maus, M.D., Ph.D., Massachusetts General Hospital, a pioneer in the area of adoptive cell therapy; Drew Pardoll, M.D., Ph.D., the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, an internationally recognized expert in immunology and immunotherapy; Howard Soule, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of the Prostate Cancer Foundation; and Jeffery Weber, M.D., Ph.D., NYU Langone Medical Center, an expert in immunology and immune therapy for solid tumors.

Board of Directors

WindMIL also announced the appointment of its Board of Directors, including Brian Dovey, Partner, Domain Associates; Allan Fox, Founding Partner, FOXKISER; Brian Halak, PhD, CEO, WindMIL Therapeutics and Partner, Domain Associates; Don Hayden, former President, Global Pharmaceuticals at Bristol-Myers Squibb; and Howard Soule, PhD., Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer, Prostate Cancer Foundation.

About WindMIL Therapeutics

When it comes to cell therapy – cell source matters. At WindMIL, we are harnessing the power of bone marrow derived lymphocytes (MILs™) to develop ground-breaking immunotherapies to treat cancer patients. The bone marrow is a natural reservoir of T cells with unique advantages including inherent tumor-specificity. We have perfected an efficient and rapid process to extract, activate and expand MILs™ for future commercial applications. Our lead program is in a large Phase 2b study in high-risk multiple myeloma with additional programs in solid tumors using MILs™ advancing to the clinic. We are also advancing programs to supercharge MILs™ through genetic-modification.

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