Biotech Strategy Blog

Commentary on Science, Innovation & New Products with a focus on Oncology, Hematology & Cancer Immunotherapy

Posts tagged ‘CAR-NK’

In the style of the film Jerry Maguire where Jerry sets out his manifesto for the “Future of Our Business,” we’re taking an extended look at the Future of Natural Killer (NK) cell therapy through the eyes of one of the leading global translational scientists in the NK field, Dr Todd Fehniger, who is at Washington University in St Louis.

In the second part of the ASH20 interview Dr Fehniger kindly gave BSB around key trials and concepts, we’re offering in a more focused look at engineered NK cells and, in particular, CAR-NK cells, as well as several other key areas to watch out for in this emerging niche…

To learn more from our oncology analysis and get a heads up on the latest insights and analysis pertaining to NK cell developments, subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

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It’s that time of year when we look to what the coming year and future holds and it’s hard to imagine that targeting natural killer (NK) cells won’t have an important role to play in cancer immunotherapy.

When it comes to NK cells, there’s definitely a lot of new product development activity that we look forward to hearing about in 2021, and the commercial interest is palpable, as evidenced by Sanofi’s November 2020 offer of €308M to acquire Kiadis for their NK cell technology platform.

Like old friends, there are many thought leaders BSB enjoys catching up with every few years, and one of them is Dr Todd Fehniger. Dr Fehniger is a Professor of Medicine at Washington University in St Louis and a leading translational researcher in the NK field.

Long time readers may recall our first interview with him back in 2016 where he discussed a paper from his lab published in Science Translational Medicine on “Cytokine-induced memory-like natural killer cells exhibit enhanced responses against myeloid leukemia.”

At ASH20, Dr Fehniger kindly shared with BSB his views on some of the NK cell therapy data presented at the meeting, as well as commentary on where the NK field is at, where it is going and the questions that remain unanswered.

This post is the first of a two part interview with Dr Fehniger providing fresh insights and analysis into the future of NK cell therapy. There was a lot of enthusiasm of late around various developments in this niche, including the Gamida Cell and other key clinical data, but how did an independent expert react to the findings? Were they as enthusiastic as investors or not?

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Last week we talked about finding ways to make the T cells work harder and smarter – there are numerous ways to do this, but cytokines might be one interesting way to begin the search.

What about NK and other immune cells though, can we do the same with these too?

This week we are focusing on various cell therapy approaches with some academic and industry interviews to share, along with some analysis of arising issues as well as some new developments to review and discuss.

In the first of the series, we have an academic thought leader in the spotlight who had a few interesting points to make on novel cell therapies…

To learn more from our oncology analysis and get a heads up on insights and commentary emerging from the AACR meeting, subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

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This week the conference cycle continues with the annual meeting of the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT) (Twitter #ASGCT20).

Due to the ongoing travel challenges and need for social distancing as result of Covid–19, one key annual immunology meeting originally slated for this month was AAI in Honolulu, which was sadly cancelled. Fortunately, ASGCT is being held as a live virtual meeting instead, so do check it out if you have a keen interest in this field.

One area we’re hoping to learn more about at ASGCT20 is cell therapy using natural killer (NK) cells. It’s an exciting and emerging area, which is attracting a lot of interest of late.

Those following the NK cell space will no doubt have seen the recent announcement of the collaboration between Kite/Gilead and Melbourne based oNKo-innate, co-founded by Prof Nick Huntington (@Dr_Nick_Bikes) and Dr Jai Rautella (Link to PR).

Other NK focused companies in the news include the licensing by Avectas of the CAR-NK cell therapy from Galway based ONK Therapeutics, founded by Prof Mike O’Dwyer (@MichaelodwyerMD) (Link to PR).

It’s definitely an exciting time to be an NK cell biologist!

In our ongoing series of expert interviews, we caught up with Prof Huntington from Melbourne to talk about the potential of CAR-NK cell therapies.

To learn more from our oncology analysis and get a heads up on insights and commentary emerging in the NK cell niche, including our latest expert interview subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

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Orlando

Yesterday we looked at ten innovative approaches centred around T cell-based developments emerging from the American Society of Hematology (ASH) meeting that is taking place in Orlando next month.

Let’s not forget, however, that there are also other immune cells, including NK cells and quite a few others, which can be manipulated into cancer therapeutics for the treatment of hematologic malignancies.

Some of these are intriguing early preclinical research that may form next generation technologies in the future, while others take the form of up and coming early clinical data that readers may be interested to learn more about.

Here we highlight nine emerging immunotherapy approaches to consider that don’t involve T cells…

Curious to find out more about these novel ideas or iterations and get a heads up on insights from our ASH19 commentary? Subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

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After yesterday’s look at a biotech company (F-star) who are focused on adaptive approaches with bispecific antibodies using checkpoint and immune agonist targets, we now shift direction within Europe to a completely different concept, although both are tetramer-based.

Oncology R&D can be a stop-start journey that is highly unpredictable and uncertain!

In the third part of our latest mini-series on bispecific antibodies, we now take a look a company who are evaluating this modality as a way to activate NK cells and stimulate the innate immune system. With all the fuss and attention on the adaptive immune system and checkpoint blockade, is there a role for innate immunotherapies?

Rather than look at this aspect as competitive, smart companies are seeking ways to complement existing backbones to determine if the outcomes can be boosted by targeting both innate and adaptive systems in a more coordinated manner.

To find out more about these developments, we talked to Dr Adi Hoess, CEO of Affimed, a German biotech company who are developing innate immunotherapies.

They have certainly been on a roller coaster ride of late, with clinical hold and abandonment of a leading program balanced by encouraging initial data with other projects, so what gives?

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Increasingly we are seeing more research on the inflammatory status of the tumour microenvironment (TME) in recent years, not to mention the impact of cytokine and chemokine signalling pathways, and how they can be manipulated therapeutically.

There’s also a much wider range of novel immunotherapy approaches being evaluated such as checkpoints, CARs and vaccines with respect to both T and NK cell therapies. There are also a few other immune cells being targeted for developmental therapeutics.

As part of the ongoing CICON18 Preview series, we take a look at what’s in store and why the latest ten we’ve highlighted matter in the broader context of the evolving landscape…

For those who missed it, Part 1 can be found here.

To learn more from our latest assessment and get a heads up on our oncology insights, subscribers can log-in or you can click to gain access to BSB Premium Content.

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