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Celyad: Early Stage CAR-T Company With A Different Approach

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Tech Junkie


  • Celyad is developing both an autologous and allogeneic CAR-T platform to treat both hematological malignancies and solid tumors.
  • Its lead allogeneic product candidate is the first clinical CAR-T candidate used to treat a solid tumor.
  • Despite the promise, the company has only generated very preliminary clinical data and still needs to prove the efficacy of its product candidates.
  • With several upcoming milestones, investors with a higher risk appetite and long time horizon can consider to take up a small position.


Celyad (CYAD) is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, focusing on the development of CAR-T cell therapy for treating cancers. The company has both autologous and allogeneic technological platforms for CAR-T and has 2 international partnerships with Novartis and Horizon Discovery. In this article, I will cover Celyad’s clinical pipeline and progress and the company’s prospects for investments.

Clinical Pipeline

As briefly mentioned, the company is working on both autologous and allogeneic CAR-Ts, both platforms are NKG2DL-based and target both hematological malignancies and solid tumors. The full list of its clinical pipeline is listed in Figure 1.


Figure 1 Celyad’s Clinical Pipeline (Source)

NKG2D is an activating receptor expressed on natural killer (“NK”) cells which plays an important role in protection against infection and cancer. NKG2D binds to 8 stress-induced ligands and is absent or shows low expression in normal tissues and highly expressed in an array of hematological malignancies and solid tumors. NKG2D forms the basis of both Celyad’s lead autologous programs in hematological malignancies and allogeneic programs in solid tumors.

Autologous Platform

Under its autologous platform, CYAD-01 is the lead program being developed to treat relapsed/refractory (“r/r”) acute myeloid leukemia (“AML”) and myelodysplastic syndromes (“MDS”). There are currently 2 ongoing phase 1 clinical trial of CYAD-01 being conducted, the THINK and DEPLETHINK studies. The THINK trial is a dose-escalation trial assessing the safety and clinical activity of multiple CYAD-01 administrations without prior preconditioning chemotherapy while the DEPLETHINK trial is a dose-escalation trial assessing a single infusion of CYAD-01 following treatment with the preconditioning regimen of CyFlu.

In June 2019, the company announced that the FDA accepted its proposal to use a new manufacturing process for its ongoing and planned clinical development programs. The new proprietary manufacturing process, OptimAb, was found to drive improved anti-tumor activity in an aggressive leukemia model compared to

This article was written by

Tech Junkie profile picture
5+ years of commercial experience in the biotech industry, with strong knowledge in biopharmaceuticals and cell/gene therapies. MBA educated with a B.Sc in Bioengineering.Invest in innovative technology and biotech companies. Covers both Tech and Biotech companies on Seeking Alpha.

Analyst’s Disclosure: I am/we are long atra, BLUE. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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Comments (2)

Excellent article and summary of existing car-t companies. I expect market consolidation and m&a activity with these names. PFE, JNJ, or GSK will eat these companies or buy and merge them.
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Not all of the companies will succeed, a combination of clinical data not good enough, poor operational execution, run out of cash, poor commercial success possibility even if products get approved.

For those companies who do succeed, there's a high chance that they will be partnering with Big Pharma either in the form of being acquired, or a licensing deal.
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