With the investment into London-headquartered Autolus Therapeutics, PPF Group N.V. significantly increased its commitment to the healthcare sector. The investor into multiple markets owned assets worth more than €45bn as of 31 December 2018. PPF is major shareholder of SOTIO a.s., an oncology specialty pharma company. Together with SOTIO, PPF has built a biotechnology portfolio through in-house research and development, investments, acquisitions and in licensing of products with antibody-drug conjugate developer NBE-Therapeutics, IL-15 cancer immunotherapy specialist Cytune Pharma or the Lead Discovery Center, which has generated leads that target the tumour metabolism.
PFF's new investment, Autolus Therapeutics plc engineers T cells to carry chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) or T cell receptors (TCRs) that home in on hematological cancers and solid tumours together with on-off switches that allow for better control of the immune reaction triggered by these cell-based cancer therapies. The company currently has four candidates in Phase I/II development: AUTO1 targeting CD19 and AUTO3 targeting CD19/CD22 in B cell malignancies such as acute lymphatic leukemia (ALL); AUTO4 targeting TRBC1in T cell lymphoma, and AUTO6 targeting GD2 in neuroblastoma. Autolus expects AUTO1 to enter a pivotal Phase II study in adults with ALL later this year with an anticipated filing for marketing authorisation in 2021.