IASO BIO Announces New Development Partnership with Umoja Biopharma to Develop Ex Vivo and In Vivo Cell and Gene Therapies

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA,  SHANGHAI, NANJING, CHINA, AND SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, January 03, 2024 –IASO Biotherapeutics (“IASO Bio”), a biopharmaceutical company engaged in discovering, developing, manufacturing and marketing innovative cell therapies and antibody products, today announced a new set of collaborations with Umoja Biopharma, Inc. (“Umoja”), a transformative immunotherapy company creating off-the-shelf treatments that aim to extend the reach and effectiveness of CAR-T cell therapies in oncology and autoimmunity, for the development and commercialization of novel ex vivo and in vivo cell and gene therapies.

Under the terms of the collaborations, IASO Bio will receive exclusive access to the rapamycin-activated cytokine receptor (RACR™) platform, Umoja’s synthetic cytokine receptor technology, for the development of two ex vivo iPSC-derived chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-bearing cell therapies. IASO will be responsible for worldwide product development, manufacturing, regulatory and commercialization of both ex vivo products. In exchange, Umoja will receive exclusive rights to CAR cassettes for two targets for the advancement of two in vivo product candidates incorporating VivoVec™, Umoja’s proprietary lentiviral in vivo gene delivery technology. Umoja will be responsible for product development, manufacturing, regulatory and commercialization in territories outside of Greater China, and IASO for the Greater China territory.  In addition, each party is entitled to customary development and sales milestones and royalties in the relevant collaborations. Collectively, this set of collaborations seeks to advance off-the-shelf cell and gene therapies that are rooted in innovative scientific advancements with applications in oncology and immunology.

Alan Fu, Chief Financial Officer of IASO Bio, stated, “We are excited to collaborate with Umoja on the investigation and development of our allogeneic cell therapies.  By combining Umoja’s RACR platform, which aims to improve the patient experience by removing the need for lymphodepletion while also optimizing product development through improved cell differentiation and scalability, with our validated CAR constructs, we aim to bring novel allogeneic treatments to patients globally who are underserved by current therapies. Additionally, Umoja gains access to our clinically validated best-in-class CAR constructs to advance their in vivo CAR-T therapeutics with the potential to fundamentally transform the cell and gene therapy treatment landscape for patients.”

“This agreement advances two complementary approaches that embody Umoja and IASO Bio’s shared commitment to making cell therapies more accessible to patients. Together, we are pushing beyond traditional development and collaboration approaches to realize the full potential of CAR-T cell therapies,” added Umoja’s Chief Operating and Chief Business Officer, David Fontana, PhD. “By incorporating IASO’s best-in-class CARs with Umoja’s VivoVec technology, we have the opportunity to expand the potential reach of our in vivo gene delivery technology to new indications and provide much needed options for patients who need them.”

About IASO Bio
IASO Bio is a biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery and development of novel cell therapies and biologics for oncology and autoimmune diseases. IASO Bio possesses comprehensive capabilities spanning the entire drug development process, from early discovery to clinical development, regulatory approval, and commercial production.

The pipeline in the company includes a diversified portfolio of over 10 novel products, including Equecabtagene Autoleucel (a fully human BCMA CAR-T injection). Equecabtagene Autoleucel received New Drug Application (NDA) approval from China’s National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) and U.S. FDA IND approval for the treatment of RR MM.

Leveraging its strong management team, innovative product pipeline, GMP production, as well as integrated manufactural and clinical capabilities, IASO aims to deliver transformative, curable, and affordable therapies that fulfil unmet medical needs to patients in China as well as around the world. For more information, please visit http://www.iasobio.com or www.linkedin.com/company/iasobiotherapeutics.

About Umoja Biopharma
Umoja Biopharma, Inc. is a clinical-stage biotechnology company aiming to develop off-the-shelf therapeutics that improve the reach, effectiveness, and access of CAR T cell therapies in both oncology and autoimmunity. Umoja’s VivoVec™ in vivo gene delivery technology empowers a patient’s own immune system to fight disease. Enabling its core technology is the Company’s state-of-the-art lentiviral vector development and manufacturing facility in Louisville, Colorado. Umoja believes its approach can provide broader access and improved effectiveness of the most advanced immunotherapies, enabling more patients to live better, fuller lives. To learn more, connect with Umoja on LinkedIn and visit http://umoja-biopharma.com/.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements about Umoja Biopharma, Inc. (the “Company,” “we,” “us,” or “our”). The Company has based these forward-looking statements largely on its current expectations, estimates, forecasts and projections about future events and financial trends that it believes may affect its financial condition, results of operations, business strategy and financial needs. In light of the significant uncertainties in these forward-looking statements, you should not rely upon forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause the actual results to vary materially, including, among others, the risks inherent in drug development such as those associated with the initiation, cost, timing, progress and results of the Company’s current and future research and development programs, preclinical and clinical trials, as well as any economic, market and social disruptions. Except as required by law, the Company undertakes no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements for any reason. 

IASO Bio Contact:
Alan Fu, JD, PhD
Chief Financial Officer

Umoja Media Contact:
Karissa Cross, Ph.D.
LifeSci Communications