Participant Profile: Unum Therapeutics
Cancer cell therapy company coupling tumor-specific antibodies to the body’s own immune system.
Unum Therapeutics is developing a universal Antibody-Coupled T-cell Receptor therapy to address the limitations of other T-cell approaches. The company’s vision is of a single, engineered cell therapy used in combination with a variety of antibodies to attack many different kinds of cancer.
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A single therapy with numerous applications
Recent advances in T-cell engineering and antibody therapeutics have led to phenomenal clinical outcomes for cancer patients, and now the Cambridge-Massachusetts-based company Unum Therapeutics is working to combine these powerful treatment modalities to build a new class of combination cancer therapies.
Unum is developing cellular immunotherapies based on an antibody-coupled T-cell receptor, or ACTR. When ACTR T cells are combined with a therapeutic antibody that recognizes tumor cells, ACTR T cells kill the tumors. Unlike other approaches (such as CAR-T or TCR), in which a cell’s receptor is trained to treat a narrow set of tumors, Unum’s therapy is not restricted to a particular target and may be used in many different cancer types.
Unum’s lead program, which is based on the combination of ACTR and the antibody rituximab, is currently undergoing Phase I clinical testing to evaluate safety and efficacy in certain forms of lymphoma. The company is also working with partners to use the ACTR technology in combination with novel antibodies to attack both blood and solid tumor cancers. Unum is on track to advance multiple combinations into clinical testing within the next few years.
Immunotherapy pioneers and drug development experts working towards a better cancer cell therapy
The leadership at Unum Therapeutics possesses biotech and large pharma drug development experience along with deep scientific expertise in cancer immunotherapy. The Unum team includes pioneers in the field who created the CAR-T approach now pursued by several companies and those who led the first large pharma effort to develop such therapies.
Meet the team
Michael came to science after spending almost a decade working in Information Technology. When he went back to school to study Immunology, he transferred his interest in computer networks to the study of signaling networks in T cells. After gaining a PhD, he took this knowledge to the rapidly growing world of Immuno-Oncology. At Unum Therapeutics, he’s involved with designing and testing the molecular interventions used to arm patients’ T cells against their tumors.
Benjamin Exter, PharmD., RPh
Sr. Director Clinical Sciences
Benjamin currently supports both clinical and pharmacovigilance activities at Unum Therapeutics. He is a pharmacist by training with a 2-year postdoctoral fellowship at Biogen Idec in Regulatory Affairs and PV and Risk Management, and he has more than 10 years of industry experience ranging from early development to global postmarking settings focusing on the areas of oncology and neurology.
Senior Associate Scientist
Casey joined Unum in 2014 after working at Novartis Vaccines. She recently transitioned into Translational Medicine at Unum to work on Biomarker development for ongoing and future clinical trials.
Greg serves as group leader at Unum, developing next-generation chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapeutics. He received a Ph.D. for his work in immunology studying COPD from the University of Cincinnati and did his postdoctoral training in immuno-oncology with the University of Pennsylvania. He previously worked at Novartis, where he led project teams for chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CART) therapeutics.
"The T Cell Therapy field is moving at incredible speeds. Keeping up with the latest developments and discoveries is both exciting and absolutely essential to have any chance of competing in this area. Access to journal articles through ScienceDirect and Scopus will be a huge boon to my ability to do my research and to share knowledge with my colleagues." Michael Fray, Scientist
"My signaling studies necessarily require a great deal of time in trying to piece together the molecular interactions that drive cell responses. Having access to Pathway Studio is particularly exciting to me as a very promising tool that will help us to perform more targeted research into the molecular mechanisms that drive engineered immune cells to eradicate tumors." Michael Fray, Scientist
"Having access to a wealth of scientific journals offered by the Hive will help me monitor the exciting, fast-paced and evolving field of immuno-oncology." Benjamin Exter, Sr. Director Clinical Sciences
"Unum is at the forefront in developing novel immuno-oncology therapeutics. The field is developing at lightning fast speeds, and it's essential to stay up to date with the literature to ensure the best scientific thinking is applied to bring the best therapies to patients. I'm looking forward to extensive access to literature and the tools to support evaluation and searching of literature (SCOPUS and Science Direct)." Greg Motz, Principal Scientist
Learn more about Elsevier's R&D solutions for drug discovery
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Enable better informed preclinical drug safety decisions with comprehensive, fully searchable FDA/EMA drug approval documents and comparative extracted drug safety data.
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Enable better understanding of biological processes underlying disease progression and treatment response, with a solution that helps researchers interpret experimental data from scientific literature.
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