Cytovia turns to Cellectis for gene editing

NK cell therapies have caught fire with investors in the past three months, but one of the problems of this approach is that some applications require gene-editing expertise. This is why Cytovia Therapeutics, a private NK cell player established two years ago, has just turned to Cellectis, a group best known as the developer of allogeneic Car-T therapies. Under today’s tie-up Cellectis gets $15m up front for rights to its Talen gene editing technology, which Cytovia will use with certain pipeline projects. These are not being disclosed, but an obvious candidate for gene editing might be CYT-538, a Car-NK asset targeting CD38. Because CD38 is present on some NK cells in addition to being expressed on target multiple myeloma cells there is a risk of fratricide, which could be negated if CD38 were edited out of the final CYT-538 product. Another possible use might be to edit particular features into Cytovia’s projects, which are derived from the relative blank canvas of induced pluripotent stem cells. Still, no INDs have yet been filed for any of the private group’s assets.

Selected NK cell therapy players
Company Cell source Gene-editing tech Car-NK targets
Sanofi (ex Kiadis) Donors Crispr Cas9 nuclease for CD38 KO None
Fate Therapeutics iPSCs Mad7 Crispr nuclease (via Inscripta) for CD38 KO CD19 (FT596 & FT819),
BCMA (FT576),
MICA/B (FT536),
B7H3 (FT573)
Nkarta Donors None MICA/B (NKX101),
CD19 (NKX019)
Nantkwest NK-92 cell line None CD19 (CD19 t-haNK),
Her2 (HER2 t-haNK),
Gamida Cell Donors None None
Takeda/MD Anderson Cord blood None CD19 & BCMA
Century Therapeutics iPSCs None CD19 & BCMA
Cytovia Therapeutics iPSCs Talen nuclease (via Cellectis) EGFRvIII (CYT-501),
GPC3 (CYT-503),
CD38 (CYT-538)
Artiva Donors "NK-specific gene-editing" Her2 (AB-201),
CD19 (AB-202)
NK Max Donors None None
ONK Therapeutics Unclear Undisclosed tech CD19 (ONKT101),
CD38 (ONKT102),
CLL-1 (ONKT104),
Muc-1 (ONKT103)
Source: company documents.

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