Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Milpitas, California; and Natick, Massachusetts, October 20, 2020 —- Ankarys Therapeutics Inc. (Ankarys), Applied StemCell, Inc. (ASC), and HebeCell Corp. (HebeCell) announced that they have entered into a strategic collaboration to co-develop allogeneic induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) NK cell therapeutics targeting hematological malignancies.
The collaboration will leverage Ankarys’ cGMP iPSC lines, proprietary CAR constructs, and FailSafe cell engineering technology. Ankarys will lead the Canadian CTA/US IND-enabling studies and launch a Phase I clinical trial in Canada and US.
ASC will use its proprietary TARGATT™ gene editing technology to insert the proprietary CAR constructs into Ankarys’ iPSC lines.
HebeCell will differentiate the CAR expressing iPSCs into NK cells using its proprietary 3D bioreactor platform and will be the manufacturing partner for the collaboration throughout the preclinical, clinical, and commercialization phases of the product.
“Our unique TARGATT™ gene insertion technology has multiple applications in immunotherapy and regenerative Medicine” said Dr. Ruby Yanru Tsai, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of ASC. “I am very excited to see TARGATT technology being used in generating iPSC-derived CAR-NK therapeutic products.”
Dr. Allen Feng, the Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of HebeCell added “We are thrilled to start this collaboration with Ankarys and ASC as all three companies have a shared goal of achieving the unmet needs in the immuno-oncology field,”
“This collaborative partnership builds on the unique complementary strengths and resources to rapidly deploy off-the-shelf CAR-NK products for all patients.” Dr. Armand Keating, Founder of Ankarys said. “We are excited to be working with ASC and HebeCell, and believe our platform technologies will alter the NK cell therapy field by delivering cost effective allogeneic therapies worldwide.”
About Ankarys Therapeutics Inc.
Ankarys Therapeutics Inc., a subsidiary of panCELLa Inc, is an early-stage biotechnology company that focuses on developing cost-effective off-the shelf NK cell therapeutics with a rapid path to the clinic. Ankarys has expertise and assets in gene editing and iPSC line generation through panCELLa and access to state-of-the-art cGMP cell manufacturing facilities. Its product pipeline incudes iPSC-derived cellular products and a platform of CAR-NKs directed against hematological malignancies and solid tumours.
Dr. Armand Keating, Founder and Chairman of Ankarys, is an internationally recognized leader in blood and marrow transplantation and cell therapy. He is a professor of medicine and of biomedical engineering at the University of Toronto and established what has become the largest stem cell transplantation program in Canada at the University Health Network.
About Applied StemCell, Inc.
Applied StemCell Inc. is a leading Gene & Cell Therapy CRO company founded in 2008 in Milpitas, California. ASC supports early stage gene and cell therapy development processes with two high-impact platforms: CRISPR-TARGATT™ genome editing and stem cell technologies. Applied StemCell’s proprietary TARGATT™ technology enables site-specific, stable integration of large DNA fragments into a safe harbor locus more efficiently and faster, with guaranteed transgene expression without the disruption of internal genes and gene silencing. Please visit www.appliedstemcell.com for more details. ASC is a member of the National Institute of Technology and Standards (NIST) Genome Editing Consortium and provides benchmark materials using ASC’s stem cell technology and genetic engineering to establish measurements and standards for characterizing genome editing outputs.
Dr. Ruby Tsai is Founder, CEO and President of ASC. Prior to joining ASC, Dr. Tsai worked at Stanford University for 16 years as the Director of Transgenic Research Center and Associate Director of the Stanford Cancer Institute. She is also a co-inventor of the TARGATT™ integrase technology for site-specific gene insertion.
About HebeCell Corp.
HebeCell was founded in 2016 by industry leading inventors in developing the manufacturing platform of hematopoietic cells from human pluripotent stem cells (PSCs). Their first-in-class proprietary 3D manufacturing platform for human iPS-NK cells is feeder-free, designed specifically for single-use-bioreactor at industrial scale. HebeCell’s platform will accelerate the application of PSCs as a viable source of immune cells in the next generation of immune cell therapies for immune-Oncology, autoimmune and infectious diseases.
Dr. John Lu is the President and CEO of HebeCell. Before establishing HebeCell, John was the Senior Director of Research at Advanced Cell Technology/Ocata Therapeutics, which in 2016 was acquired by Astellas, the second-largest pharmaceutical company in Japan. John is an expert in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine with 20 years of experience in the field.
Dr. Allen Feng is the Chief Scientific Officer of the HebeCell Corp. Prior to establishing HebeCell, he was the Director of Cell Biology of Semma Therapeutics, which was acquired by Vertex Pharmaceuticals in 2019. Prior to Semma, Allen worked as R&D Head of Stem Cell Bioprocessing Group at EMD Millipore, and also served as Director and Senior Scientist at Advanced Cell Technology /Ocata Therapeutics.
SOURCE: HebeCell Corp.