GI Cell said Monday that they signed a research and development collaboration agreement with HK inno.N to develop allogenic CAR-NK candidates and advance the development of numerous CAR-NK therapies.
CAR-NK (Chimeric antigen receptor-natural killer) therapy is a novel immunotherapy strategy that utilizes genetically-engineered NK cells to target specific cancer, which can be liquid and solid tumors.
The two companies will make the most of their clinical and commercializing capacities to discover potential CAR-NK cell product candidates and produce non-clinical samples. To this end, they will jointly develop CAR-NK programs to initiate the clinical phase of CAR-NK cell therapy products by 2024.
GI Cell, a company specializing in large-scale immune cell manufacturing, expects to demonstrate its technology on scalable culture under this research agreement. In February, GI Cell set a new world record in culturing highly active natural killer cells with 200 liters. In July, the company's manufacturing technology obtained a patent registration in Taiwan, following the corresponding patent registration in Korea at the beginning of the year.
HK inno.N is committed to developing breakthrough therapies and biopharmaceutical products with high market value. It has established Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) facilities based on its belief in the anticancer therapeutic potential of cell and gene therapy products as a future growth engine.
"Allogeneic NK cells developed by GI Cell have entered a leading group in the CAR-NK field by avoiding NK cell exhaustion by regulating the binding force of cytokine receptors during cell culturing,” GI Cell CSO and Vice President Cho Sung-yoo said. “It also shows significant improvements in the efficiency of CAR gene introduction in NK cells, which are generally challenging to express genes, compared to T cells."
Won Sung-young, managing director and head of HK inno.N’s Bio Research Center, said, "We are conducting research with many companies possessing technological competitiveness in cell therapy products to accelerate the development of anticancer immune cell therapy products.”
Won added that the company would continue to develop its promising CAR-NK pipelines through this research and development collaboration with GI Cell.