Avectas, ONK to develop cancer cell therapy

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

May 6, 2020 -- Avectas has exclusively licensed a chimeric antigen receptor-directed natural killer cell therapy (CAR NK) from ONK Therapeutics for the treatment of B-cell malignancies such as non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

The partnership aims to develop a chimeric antigen receptor that uses natural killer cells that are engineered to target specific cancer cells and increase therapeutic potency by adding a secondary cancer cell-killing mechanism using ONK's death receptor (DR5) TRAIL variant. If successful, the off-the-shelf allogeneic therapy would provide transient cell-killing effects in a dose-controlled manner.

Under the collaboration, ONK will accelerate the development of the therapy, incorporating its DR5 TRAIL variant, to a phase I clinical trial. Avectas will engineer the therapy using its nonviral cell engineering platform. Avectas will retain worldwide development and commercialization rights to the therapy.

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