Medigene drops TCR-T asset after COVID-19 delays

Published: 1 February 2021

TCR-T immunotherapy MDG1021 is discontinued after COVID-19-related delays.

Medigene has seen its shares fall into the red after it culled MDG1021, a T-cell receptor modified (TCR-T) against the antigen HA-1, which was being tested against relapsed or persistent blood cancer following allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.  

The German biotech licensed the drug from Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) in 2018. Now, the company has decided to focus more on solid tumors, and blames issues caused by the pandemic for exacerbating the challenge of recruiting patients for the program.

Kai Pinkernell, CMO and CDO at Medigene, commented: "While HA-1 represents a potentially effective antigen target for certain hematological cancers, our current expectation, and the experience of others, suggests that the timeline for the efficient development of MDG1021 is likely to be more protracted than previously anticipated. We believe the challenges of recruiting patients for this program have been exacerbated under the prevailing pandemic conditions and that this situation is unlikely to improve substantially over the coming months, leading us to this difficult decision. We thank our collaborators and their teams for all their efforts and contributions despite the challenging circumstances."

The company also announced that discussions regarding the development and commercialization rights for the drug, and the potential for taking over the study, are ongoing with LUMC.