Cell and Gene Therapy, MedTech
globenewswire | August 29, 2023
NKGen Biotech, Inc. a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of innovative autologous, allogeneic, and CAR-NK natural killer (“NK”) cell therapies, today announced the first patient has been dosed in a Phase I, multi-center, open-label, dose-escalation study evaluating its cryopreserved investigational allogeneic blood-derived NK cell therapy (“SNK02”). In October 2022, the Food and Drug Administration allowed NKGen’s Phase I SNK02 clinical trial to proceed per its Investigational New Drug application. NKGen previously announced a proposed business combination with Graf Acquisition Corp. IV (NYSE: GFOR.U, GFOR, GFOR.WS).
This Phase I clinical trial is evaluating the safety and tolerability of SNK02 in participants with pathologically confirmed solid tumors refractory to standard of care therapy. The study drug, SNK02, will be administered as an intravenous infusion, weekly for eight weeks. SNK02 consists of NK cells isolated from healthy donor peripheral blood mononuclear cells. NKGen’s proprietary allogeneic manufacturing process is technically capable of producing hundreds of thousands of potential doses of NK cell therapies from materials collected from a single donor. Processed SNK02 cells are expected to possess 99% purity and very high receptor expression rates. Its cryopreservation process allows the Company to maintain significant cytotoxicity, potentially making SNK02 an accessible investigational off-the-shelf candidate for clinical trials treating malignancies with an emphasis on solid tumors.
“We are excited to have dosed our first patient in the Phase I SNK02 clinical trial in refractory cancer patients with limited treatment options,” said Paul Y. Song, M.D., CEO of NKGen. “SNK02 seeks to be one of the first cryopreserved allogeneic NK cell therapy for solid tumors that does not require lymphodepletion before administration. We believe the lack of lymphodepletion has the potential to better preserve the already fragile immune function of heavily pre-treated cancer patients with advanced disease. If successful, this therapy may lead to better overall synergy in future combination regimens with immune checkpoint inhibitors where a robust T-cell response is needed.”
NKGen is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of innovative autologous, allogeneic, and CAR-NK natural killer cell therapies. NKGen is headquartered in Santa Ana, California, USA.
About Graf Acquisition Corp. IV (“Graf”)
Graf is a blank-check company incorporated as a Delaware corporation and formed for the purpose of effecting a merger, capital stock exchange, asset acquisition, stock purchase, reorganization, or similar business combination with one or more businesses.
Businesswire | August 03, 2023
A new study demonstrates how the combination of DNA-encoded libraries (DELs) and NanoBRET Target Engagement technology can accelerate early-stage drug discovery. Reported in Cell Chemical Biology, researchers from Promega Corporation and WuXi AppTec generated new chemical probes from molecules identified through a DEL screen. This research opens new opportunities to develop novel NanoBRET Target Engagement Assays aimed at many understudied classes of proteins, rapidly accelerating “hit to lead” efforts in identifying new potential therapeutics.
Generating Novel Chemical Probes from DELs
DELs are increasingly popular tools used to rapidly screen billions of molecules for early-stage drug discovery. Each molecule is tagged with a short DNA “barcode” that can be used to identify those that successfully bind to a given target. In the Cell Chemical Biology paper, scientists from Promega and WuXi AppTec aimed to develop new chemical probes using molecules selected from these massive pools. These probes would be used in a NanoBRET Target Engagement Assay, a tool for studying the interaction between a chemical compound and its target protein in live cells.
The authors screened 16.8 billion compounds from WuXi AppTec’s 41 established DELs against aurora kinase A, a protein implicated in the invasive growth of certain cancers. They identified two representative “hits” that bound to the target and developed a method to replace the DNA barcode of each “hit” with a fluorophore. The fluorophore is responsible for the light signal generated in a NanoBRET assay in live human cells. The team found that this new probe could be used effectively to characterize novel inhibitors targeting aurora kinase A, providing critical engagement characteristics such as affinity, selectivity and cellular permeability.
“It was very clever of the authors to appreciate that the DEL read-out not only identified a chemical binder for a protein, but also a place to attach a tracer,” says Aled Edwards, Chief Executive of the Structural Genomics Consortium, a public-private partnership that develops open-access chemical probes to support drug discovery and development. “One can only imagine what could be if there were DEL hits for all human proteins.”
Accelerating Drug Discovery
The authors demonstrate that DELs can benefit chemical biologists who require verification of live cell target engagement for their protein of interest. This is particularly beneficial for understudied protein classes that may not have existing chemical probes. Additionally, they note that the NanoBRET assays help drug discovery researchers accelerate their workflow by providing data used to identify the most promising leads.
They conclude, “Our findings support that DEL-derived BRET probes facilitate prioritization of not only the chemical matter identified from the DEL but may also serve as general live-cell screening tools for surveying broader chemotypic diversity at the target of interest.”
Read the open access paper, “DELs enable the development of BRET probes for target engagement studies in cells”.
About Promega Corporation
Promega Corporation is a leader in providing innovative solutions and technical support to the life sciences industry. The company’s portfolio of over 4,000 products supports a range of life science work across areas such as cell biology; DNA, RNA and protein analysis; drug development; human identification and molecular diagnostics. These tools and technologies have grown in their application over the last 45 years and are used today by scientists and technicians in labs for academic and government research, forensics, pharmaceuticals, clinical diagnostics and agricultural and environmental testing. Promega is headquartered in Madison, WI, USA with branches in 16 countries and over 50 global distributors.
businesswire | September 21, 2023
AbCellera announced that it has expanded its existing multi-target collaboration with Regeneron to discover therapeutic antibodies for up to eight targets selected by Regeneron, increased from the original four.
“Having successfully delivered on two challenging discovery campaigns under the original agreement, we are excited to expand the scope of our collaboration with Regeneron to include up to four additional targets,” said Carl Hansen, Ph.D., founder and CEO of AbCellera. “We look forward to using our antibody discovery and development engine to bolster Regeneron’s preclinical portfolio and help identify promising candidates for their programs.”
The collaboration, which began in March 2020, leverages AbCellera’s antibody discovery engine and Regeneron’s VelocImmune® mice to identify novel therapeutic antibodies. AbCellera has initiated programs for all four of the original targets, with Regeneron exercising its rights to advance antibody candidates into further preclinical development for the two programs that have been completed.
Under the terms of the agreement, Regeneron has the right to develop and commercialize therapeutic antibodies resulting from the collaboration. AbCellera receives research payments and is eligible to receive downstream clinical and regulatory milestone payments and royalties on net sales of products.
About AbCellera Biologics Inc.
AbCellera is breaking the barriers of conventional antibody drug discovery to bring better medicines to patients, sooner. AbCellera’s engine integrates expert teams, technology, and facilities with the data science and automation needed to propel antibody-based medicines from target to clinic in nearly every therapeutic area with precision and speed. AbCellera provides innovative biotechs and leading pharmaceutical companies with a competitive advantage that empowers them to move quickly, reduce cost, and tackle the toughest problems in drug development.