Cambrian Bio launches Telos Biotech to enable more robust cell therapies

In unveiling its third pipeline company of 2023, the NY-based biotech aims to improve cell fitness of CAR-T cells for better performance and function.

Cambrian Bio, a clinical-stage biotech focused on treating and preventing chronic diseases of aging, today announced the launch of its new pipeline company, Telos Biotech.

The organization will develop Telovance, a novel recombinant protein delivered intracellularly during the ex vivo manufacturing of CAR-T cells. Rapid telomere shortening naturally occurs during the ex vivo cell expansion portion of cell therapies, a medical procedure in which an organ, cells or tissue are taken from a living body for a treatment or procedure, and then returned to the living body. During this process, critically shortened telomeres have emerged as a key barrier to successful CAR-T cell immunotherapy; ultimately, the cells are unable to fully eliminate malignancy and provide durable and persistent protection against recurrent disease.

By safely lengthening telomeres during the ex vivo manufacturing process, Telos can rewind the cellular biological clock and unlock the potential of cell immunotherapy. With these findings, Telos has engineered Telovance, a recombinant protein that can be easily incorporated into the cell therapy manufacturing process, and now a patent portfolio directed to this technology.

Longevity.Technology: 2023 isn’t yet quite halfway through, and Cambrian is already on its third pipeline company (or pipeco) of the year. Add that to the more than a dozen novel therapeutics in has in its pipeline, and Cambrian is certainly one to watch – period.

Telos Biotech, Cambrian’s third pipeco, is on a mission is to overcome cell aging and replicative lifespan limits caused by critically short telomeres, the distinctive structures found at the ends of our chromosomes that protect the ends of our chromosomes from damage and fraying, much like the plastic aiglets on shoelaces do. Telomeres help to stop our chromosomes sticking together and allow the chromosome to be replicated properly during cell division. Telomeres shorten with each cell division until a limit is reached, the cell can no longer divide and it enters senescence or dies.

Telos aims to improve state-of-the-art cell and gene therapies by generating more biologically fit cells. The company is developing platforms to overcome the manufacturing bottlenecks of cell therapies for optimal treatment outcomes and empowering innovative cell therapy companies to deliver better, safer and faster therapies. While cancer treatment is an obvious use for the technology, the potential to leverage telomere lengthening for longevity therapies seems a very real possibility.

Cambrian Bio launches Telos Biotech to enable more robust cell therapies
James Peyer, PhD, CEO of Cambrian Bio

“Cell therapies have delivered cures to thousands of cancer patients but face major manufacturing challenges as expanding exhausted cells from older patients can prevent people from benefitting from life-saving medicines,” said James Peyer, PhD, CEO of Cambrian Bio.

“We’re so excited to work with the team at UT Southwestern Medical Center to discover a safe way to extend telomeres without increasing cancer risk, meaning that all types of cell therapies may one day be made available to any patient, no matter their age or previous lines of therapy.”

Telos Biotech was founded in 2020 based on the work of Drs Jerry Shay, Professor of Cell Biology, Enzo Tedone, Senior Research Scientist and Mohammad Sayed, Senior Research Scientist, all at UT Southwestern. The company builds on over three decades of telomere biology research by the Shay Laboratory. Telos has licensed the invention from UTSW.

“It’s been over 20 years since the first primary human cells were made to live longer through telomere maintenance. The limitations were to ensure this did not lead cells one step closer to cancer,” said Mohammad Sayed, Scientific Founder, Telos.

“At Telos, we believe that we have overcome those limits and are now able to safely maintain and lengthen telomeres to create a more robust and fit cell.”

Telos has engaged cell therapy partners looking for functional benefits with their cells, to improve outcomes for patients. Telovance is an ancillary reagent that can be employed via
our simple and easy delivery platform, a variety of manufacturing processes.

Photograph: GarryKillian/Freepik