Cartesian's immune disorder therapy meets main goal in mid-stage study

(Reuters) -Cartesian Therapeutics said on Tuesday that its experimental therapy helped reduce symptoms of a rare, immune-related disorder, meeting the main goal in a mid-stage study.

The therapy known as descartes-08 is a chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy, or CAR-T cell therapy, to treat patients with myasthenia gravis - an autoimmune disorder that causes disabling muscle weakness and fatigue.

Myasthenia gravis has a prevalence of 20 per 100,000 people in the US, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The company said the therapy showed a statistical significance in reducing the severity of symptoms in 71% of patients at three months compared to the 25% who were given a placebo, as measured on a disease severity scale.

The trial enrolled 36 heavily pre-treated, highly symptomatic patients who were given descartes-08 or placebo as six weekly infusions.

Descartes-08, unlike other DNA-based CAR-T cell therapies, is designed to be given as an outpatient treatment without the need for pre-conditioning chemotherapy, the company said.

Current standard of care for the disorder includes the use of steroids and other immunosuppressants.

Approved drugs for this condition include Argenx SE's under-the-skin injection, Vyvgart Hytrulo, and AstraZeneca's intravenous injection, Soliris.

Separately, Cartesian entered into a financing deal to raise $130 million, under which it will sell certain shares of its common stock for $20 per share.

Shares of Cartesian were down 14.3% at $20.80 in premarket trading.

(Reporting by Sneha S K in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)