MANHASSET, NY – Verik Bio, Inc. and The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, the research arm of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, jointly announced their intention to engage in a strategic partnership to explore the development of engineered cytotoxic T lymphocyte (eCTL) therapies and companion diagnostics for solid tumors such as ovarian, breast, prostate and lung cancers.
eCTL immunotherapy is an approach that empowers the immune system to identify and kill specific cancer cells without harming normal tissue by genetically engineering a patient’s killer T cells to identify and attack cancer cells. In recent years, significant progress has been made using eCTL immunotherapy to achieve long-lasting remission in certain “liquid” cancers such as leukemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. However, remissions remain elusive for solid tumor cancers, particularly epithelial cancers, due to a lack of appropriate protein/peptide targets – a critical hurdle that must be overcome since solid tumors represent nearly 80 percent of all cancers.
Over the last several years, Verik Bio has developed two proprietary platform technologies that will advance eCTL therapies for solid tumor cancers: (1) a landmark in silico technology for the rapid identification of multiple cancer-specific target antigens for the generation of High Curative Potential™ eCTL immunotherapies; and (2) a functionally-based technology for the discovery and validation of High Curative Potential™ targets within complex solid tumors. Verik Bio plans to use its proprietary technology in collaboration with the Feinstein Institute to create a powerful synergy between the scientific and translational capabilities of Verik Bio’s team, and the translational and clinical research capabilities of the Feinstein Institute. The collaboration will initially focus on several key areas:
- Leveraging the capabilities of the Feinstein Institute in liquid biopsy, single cell analysis, epigenetic and genetic profiling for Verik Bio’s proprietary High Curative PotentialTM cancer protein targets;
- Isolating reactive T cells from patient blood samples, culminating in the creation of specific T cell receptor (TCR) vectors used for patient delivery of eCTL therapy;
- Transferring Verik’s methods for functional isolation of cell subsets from patient samples to identify and characterize the principal cell and protein targets within heterogeneous solid tumors that are likely to have the highest curative impact; and
- Developing theranostic, or companion diagnostic, approaches to identify appropriate candidates who will most likely respond to Verik’s eCTL immunotherapies, including a specific focus on ovarian cancer patients.
“We are thrilled to have the Feinstein Institute as our collaborative partner,” said Nancy L. Parenteau, PhD, co-founder and chief scientific officer of Verik Bio. “The world-class expertise at the Feinstein Institute significantly expands our research capabilities, and will assist us in accelerating the development of eCTL cancer immunotherapies and companion diagnostics in preparation for human clinical trials. With multiple target candidates already in our pipeline, this collaboration will enable us to understand how to best use our eCTL immunotherapies in the clinic to address some of the most deadly forms of solid tumors, including ovarian, breast, prostate, and lung cancers.”
Peter Gregersen, MD, director of the Robert S. Boas Center for Genomics and Human Genetics at the Feinstein Institute, said, “We are very excited and eager to begin collaborating with Verik Bio. Our two institutions share highly complementary capabilities that will contribute immediately to the advancement of safe and effective eCTL cancer immunotherapies against solid cancers. This strategic partnership will also expand our basic understanding of complex tumor biology, leading to exciting new translational research opportunities for Feinstein scientists.”
This collaborative effort also provides immediate benefits for current Feinstein Institute research initiatives focused on better understanding treatment outcomes in ovarian cancer. “Collaborating with Verik Bio will enable us to obtain fundamental information needed to understand the course of ovarian cancers,” said Annette Lee, PhD, director of the Laboratory of Translational Genetics at the Feinstein Institute. “By using Verik Bio’s methods to analyze the cells functionally capable of propagating ovarian cancers, we will be able to identify and focus on tumor cell subsets that are responsible for treatment response and, thus, patient outcome.”
Nancy Parenteau, PhD sees this collaborative partnership as providing important access to integrated resources in an environment well attuned to clinical translation, patient care and the delivery of cancer therapies. “Verik Bio’s ability to gain access to patient samples and tap into an active body of clinical expertise and resources across the entire North Shore-LIJ Health System will be a boon to the development and rapid delivery of eCTL cancer immunotherapies – a pioneering collaboration to turn the most deadly forms of solid tumor cancer into potentially curable diseases. This agreement begins what I hope will be a long and extremely fruitful relationship linking Verik Bio,the Feinstein Institute, and The North Shore-LIJ Health System for the benefit of cancer patients worldwide.”
About Verik Bio, Inc.
Verik Bio is a biotechnology company developing engineered cytotoxic lymphocyte (eCTL) immunotherapies with High Curative PotentialTM against some of the most deadly forms of solid tumors, such as ovarian, prostate, and lung cancers. Founded by industry pioneers who created the first living cell therapy approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and armed with key intellectual property rights, Verik is ideally positioned to turn eCTL immunotherapy into a front-line weapon in the fight against cancer. For more information, visit verikbio.com.
About The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research
Headquartered in Manhasset, NY, The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research is home to international scientific leaders in many areas including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, psychiatric disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, sepsis, human genetics, pulmonary hypertension, leukemia, neuroimmunology, and medicinal chemistry. Its Robert S. Boas Center for Genomics and Human Genetics is also a leader in the genetic analysis of complex diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. The Feinstein Institute, part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, ranks in the top 6th percentile of all National Institutes of Health grants awarded to research centers. For more information, visit feinsteininstitute.org.
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