RACR-induced cytotoxic innate lymphocytes permit the expansion and differentiation of iPSCs with fewer limitations, leading to a more cost-effective manufacturing process
SEATTLE, May 4, 2022 – Umoja Biopharma, Inc., an immuno-oncology company pioneering off-the-shelf, integrated therapeutics that reprogram immune cells in vivo for patients with solid and hematologic malignancies, announced today that it will have an oral presentation at the International Society for Cell and Gene Therapy (ISCT) Annual Meeting 2022, to be held May 4-7, 2022 in San Francisco, California.
On Friday, May 6th, Dave Vereide, Ph.D., Senior Scientist at Umoja Biopharma, will give an oral presentation titled “A synthetic cytokine receptor platform for producing cytotoxic innate lymphocytes as ‘off-the-shelf’ cancer therapeutics.” The presentation will highlight Umoja’s rapamycin-activated cytokine receptor (RACR) platform which seeks to address current challenges in the cellular therapy space. Current approaches for differentiating induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) into therapeutic immune cell types often requires expensive exogenous gamma-chain cytokines for expansion and survival, and often, the presence of feeder cells. The RACR platform permits the production of immune effector cells, termed RACR-induced cytotoxic innate lymphocytes (iCILs), in the absence of exogenous cytokines and feeder cells by genetically modifying iPSC-derived progenitor cells to express the RACR synthetic cytokine receptor. A synthetic small molecule ligand then binds RACR to drive the differentiation and expansion of the iCILs. RACR technology can be employed in both a manufacturing setting to generate iCILs and in vivo to enable the selective expansion and survival of iCILs.
“iPSCs are an excellent source of renewable, modifiable, and scalable material for cell therapy manufacturing, yet several limitations exist with the current manufacturing processes for differentiating iPSCs into therapeutic cell types, including the need for exogenous growth factors and feeder cells.” said Andy Scharenberg, M.D., co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Umoja. “At Umoja we are excited about our RACR-iCIL iPSC platform and its capacity to generate immune effector cells in the absence of these limitations. Due to the selective growth advantage provided by our RACR platform, a highly pure iCIL population can be produced during manufacturing. We are evaluating iCILs in pre-clinical studies to assess their in vivo anti-tumor activity, and are optimistic about their potential for development as “off-the-shelf” cell therapies for diverse hematologic malignancies and solid tumors.”
Presentation Title: A synthetic cytokine receptor platform for producing cytotoxic innate lymphocytes as ‘off-the-shelf’ cancer therapeutics
Presenting Author: Dave Vereide, Ph.D., Senior Scientist at Umoja Biopharma
Abstract Number: 44
Oral Presentation Session: Gene Editing/Gene Therapies
Oral Presentation Date, Time: Friday May 6, 2022; 4:45-5:45 p.m. PT
Poster Presentation Session: Poster Networking Reception 2
Poster Presentation Date, Time: Thursday May 5, 2022; 5:45-7:15 p.m. PT
About Umoja Biopharma, Inc.
Umoja Biopharma, Inc., is developing treatments for solid tumors and hematologic cancers that reprogram the patient’s immune system in vivo. Our technology platforms are designed to work synergistically as part of a therapeutic regimen that can be delivered to any patient, with any tumor, at any time. Based on pioneering work performed at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and Purdue University, Umoja’s approach is powered by novel cellular immunotherapy technologies including the VivoVec in vivo delivery platform, the RACR/CAR in vivo cell expansion/control platform, and the TumorTag targeting platform. Umoja believes its approach can broaden access to advanced immunotherapies to give more patients the hope of lasting remission. To learn more, visit http://umoja-biopharma.com/.
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Darren Opland, Ph.D.