Gritstone Oncology Changes its Name to Gritstone bio to Reflect Expanded Therapeutic Focus
EMERYVILLE, Calif., May 03, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Gritstone Oncology, Inc. (Nasdaq: GRTS), a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing the next generation of cancer and infectious disease immunotherapies, today announced it is changing its name to Gritstone bio, Inc. effective immediately.
“Gritstone began its life with the goal of building a vaccine platform that would drive strong CD8+ cytotoxic T cell responses to cancer antigens in humans, a challenge that the cancer immunotherapy field had struggled to meet,” said Andrew Allen, M.D., Ph.D., co-founder, president and chief executive officer of Gritstone. “Having successfully achieved that goal, and with Phase 2 cancer clinical trials underway, we broadened our scope to address infectious diseases where vaccine induction of potent CD8+ T cell responses could complement the typically elicited neutralizing antibodies, offering the prospect of robust and durable clinical protection. This strategic extension was driven by immediate needs to address the global pandemic, future needs given the recurring emergence of novel viruses, and interest by industry and government agencies to gain access to our cutting-edge technologies.”
From inception in 2015 until 2020, the company’s activities were focused on the development of novel neoantigen-based immunotherapies for the treatment of patients with cancer. The company’s Phase 2 oncology programs are GRANITE, an individualized immunotherapy, and SLATE, an “off the shelf” but personalized immunotherapy. In 2021, Gritstone launched a COVID-19 program (“CORAL”) supported by collaborations with The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the La Jolla Institute for Immunology, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health. The Phase 1 CORAL clinical trial, which is funded by NIAID and conducted through the Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Consortium, is underway. In February 2021, the company also announced a collaboration agreement with Gilead Sciences for the development of an HIV-specific therapeutic vaccine using Gritstone’s vaccine platforms.
Karin Jooss, Ph.D., head of Research and Development at Gritstone, added, “As innovative scientists, we are excited to expand the application of our technologies beyond oncology into additional relevant disease areas, informed by common biological principles and validated by experimentl data. As drug developers, we are motivated by the opportunity to impact more patient lives through the advancement of new, potentially life-saving immunotherapies. We are pioneering the use of ‘chimeric antigen cassettes’ whereby our vaccines contain whole genes/proteins to drive antibody responses, as well as carefully selected gene fragments that drive diverse CD8+ T cell responses. These two elements, antibodies and CD8+ T cells, typically cooperate in humans to drive deep, broad and durable immunity to pathogens, and we are doing this in the context of COVID-19 to try to be ready for future Spike variants that may escape narrow antibody immunity conferred by first generation COVID-19 vaccines.”
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