Zelluna Immunotherapy has announced a research collaboration agreement with Lion TCR (Singapore).
The collaboration will focus on the development of TCR-NK products for the treatment of virally induced cancers.
“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,” says Anders Holm, COO & Head of BD, Zelluna Immunotherapy. “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.”
Initially focus on Hepatitis B Virus
Under the collaboration the parties will leverage Zelluna’s TCR-NK platform and TCR translational experience. Lion TCR, together with Prof Antonio Bertoletti’s 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, expertise, and capabilities in the translation of TCR therapies against viral targets. Zelluna will lead early stage product development.
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.
“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,” says Prof Antonio Bertolleti, Scientific Founder and Chairman of Lion TCR.
Photo of Anders Holm, COO & Head of BD, Zelluna Immunotherapy. Photographer: Stig Jarnes