Umoja Biopharma of Seattle to test the efficacy of its iCIL off-the-shelf cell therapy platform with Shanghai IASO Bio’s CAR candidates.
Umoja’s allogeneic stem cell-based cell therapy platform uses a proprietary manufacturing process to direct differentiation and expansion of iCILs, a novel class of innate lymphocytes with potent anti-tumor activity.
Initially, the companies will work to develop off-the-shelf therapies for patients with acute myeloid leukemia. IASO’s lead product is an autologous BCMA CAR-T currently at NDA stage in China that IASO partners with Eli Lilly.
Umoja’s iCIL platform is built on a novel cell manufacturing process that generates synthetic cancer fighting cells from induced pluripotent stem cells. These cells, termed induced cytotoxic innate lymphocytes (iCILs), are administered to improve a patient’s endogenous anti-tumor immune function.
The also work together with other Umoja platforms including VivoVec, which generates in vivo CAR T-cells, and the RACR/CAR and TumorTag platforms that support cell survival and target tumors and their stromal cells. Umoja believes its platforms have the potential to reduce adverse events and prolong remissions in patients.
“We believe that developing off-the-shelf therapies using our iCIL platform and IASO’s CARs will pave the way to broader patient access to top-line therapies in hematological malignancies,” said Andy Scharenberg, MD, co-founder and CEO of Umoja. “As medicine and science have progressed, so have patient outcomes in cancer, but we still have a way to go. Collaborations like this between Umoja and IASO seek to push the next phase of cancer treatment forward.”
“We are very pleased to enter a collaboration with Umoja,” said Wen (Maxwell) Wang, M.D., PhD, CEO of IASO Bio. “The benefit of our fully-human CAR constructs to treat patients with hematologic malignancies has been validated in clinical trials in a broad set of targets and indications. We are excited to develop next generation novel cell therapies by combining our CAR constructs with Umoja’s novel ShRED technologies with potentially lower cost.”
Umoja is advancing an entirely new approach to immunotherapy. It is a multi-platform immuno-oncology company that aims to discovery novel products for solid and hematological malignancies. The company’s novel approach depends on its novel integrated cellular immunotherapy technologies including the VivoVec off-the-shelf in vivo delivery platform, iCIL off-the-shelf cell therapy platform, the RACR/CAR in vivo cell expansion/control platform and the TumorTag targeting platform, all of them designed to work together.
IASO’s proprietary fully-human antibody discovery platform (IMARS) offers a strong screening capability with the potential to identify best-in-class CARs. It also has an in-house GMP facility for plasmid, virus vector, and CAR-T cell manufacturing with a success rate of over 90%. The company has built a portfolio of seven autologous CAR-T candidates, three allogenic CAR-Ts and two antibody drugs. It actively pursues partners for its own candidates along with seeking assets from other biopharma/cell therapy companies.
This article was first published in ChinaBio Today on November 21, 2022