Zelluna Immunotherapy, a Norwegian company pioneering allogeneic TCR based Natural Killer (TCR-NK) cells for the treatment of cancer, announced a research collaboration agreement with Lion TCR (Singapore) on 24 June 2020. According to their official statement, the collaboration will focus on the development of TCR-NK products for the treatment of virally induced cancers.
Anders Holm, COO & Head of BD, Zelluna Immunotherapy said “This collaboration represents a key milestone for Zelluna and marks an important aspect of our strategy which is to expand our pipeline through in-licensing and partnering,”
“Recent clinical data demonstrate the potential of using TCR cell therapies in the treatment of solid cancers including through the targeting of viral antigens. This partnership with Lion TCR offers the opportunity for Zelluna to develop allogeneic TCR-NK products using well validated TCRs against viral targets, initially focused on HBV and liver cancer.”
“We are privileged to work with Prof Antonio Bertolleti’s group and Lion TCR who have built a broad portfolio of well characterized as well as clinically tested TCRs that can be used to develop novel TCR-NK therapies for the treatment of patients suffering from virally induced cancers.”
Prof Antonio Bertolleti, Scientific Founder and Chairman of Lion TCR said “I am extremely pleased to start this collaboration with Zelluna. The complementary expertise of the two companies will allow us to explore the therapeutic potential of linking the viral-antigen specificity of our TCRs with the high killing potential and flexibility of NK cells through Zelluna’s TCR-NK platform. A new and exciting field of investigation that can open new ways to treating viral-related cancers,”
Lion TCR, together with Prof Antonio Bertoletti’s world-class group at Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore, have isolated and developed a portfolio of TCRs against viral antigens and, as part of this collaboration, will contribute their well characterized TCRs, extensive expertise, and capabilities in the translation of TCR therapies against viral targets. Zelluna will lead early stage product development.
TCR-NK products are a novel class of allogeneic cellular therapies that combine the inherent killing mechanism, efficiency, and the allogeneic nature of NK cells with the targeting capabilities of TCRs. Using TCRs to guide NK cells could potentially increase the number of cancers to be targeted by NK cells.
The collaboration will initially focus on the development of TCR-NK products targeting Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) which is a leading cause of liver cancer and has a high unmet need for efficient treatment options.
With the collaboration plan, the parties will leverage Zelluna’s proprietary TCR-NK platform and TCR translational experience.
About Zelluna Immunotherapy
Zelluna Immunotherapy is a company pioneering the development of allogeneic T cell receptor (TCR) guided natural killer (NK) cell immunotherapies for the treatment of solid cancers. The company is developing a portfolio of tumor specific TCRs to guide NK cells with the aim to induce cancer responses that are safe, efficient, and durable. For more information, please visit www.zelluna.com
About Lion TCR
Lion TCR is a Singapore-based clinical stage biotech company focused on development of T cell receptor (TCR)-T cell therapy against life-threatening viral infections and viral-related cancers. It is the first company to develop HBV-specific TCR-T cell therapy against liver cancer with clinical trials in Singapore and China. For more information, please visit www.liontcr.com