CRISPR Therapeutics and KSQ Therapeutics have signed license agreement to advance their respective cell therapy programmes in oncology.
The agreement allows CRISPR, a Swiss gene editing company, to gain access to the KSQ Therapeutics’ intellectual property (IP) for editing certain gene targets in its allogeneic oncology cell therapy programmes.
The US-based KSQ Therapeutics, on the other hand, will get access to the Swiss company’s IP for editing gene targets identified by it as part of its present and future engineered tumour infiltrating lymphocyte (eTIL) cell programmes.
Financial aspects of the agreement were not revealed by the parties.
KSQ Therapeutics CEO David Meeker said: “Our eTIL programs involve editing gene targets in human TILs that were discovered at KSQ by applying our proprietary CRISPRomics approach to immune cells in multiple in vivo models.
“This agreement clears an important path for us to be able to bring these programs through development and commercialization, leveraging CRISPR Therapeutics’ proprietary editing technology.”
The gene targets within the purview of the license deal were identified using KSQ Therapeutics’ CRISPRomics drug discovery engine, which is said to enable genome-scale, in vivo validated, unbiased drug discovery. According to the partners, specific targets were uncovered in screens to identify genetic edits that could improve the functionality and quality of adoptive cell therapies for tumours.
CRISPR Therapeutics CEO Samarth Kulkarni said: “KSQ has built an industry-leading platform to screen for novel gene targets using its technology, and has identified a group of targets that could help unlock the full potential of adoptive cell therapy in oncology.
“As a result of this license agreement, CRISPR Therapeutics will have the opportunity to bring these novel targets into our leading allogeneic CAR-T development platform to further strengthen our future programs in this important therapeutic area.”
Last month, KSQ Therapeutics raised $80m through a Series C funding round which it intends to use for advancing the oncology drug candidates generated from the CRISPRomics drug discovery engine into clinical trials.
In the last one year or so, the company through the CRISPRomics platform has initiated and advanced 12 drug discovery programmes across the oncology drug categories of adoptive T-cell therapies, immuno-oncology, and targeted therapies.