Therapy Areas: Respiratory
Onk Therapeutics Closes USD 21.5m Series A Financing to Advance Pipeline of Next-Generation Optimally Engineered Off-the-Shelf NK Cell Therapies
7 January 2022 - - Ireland-based NK cell therapy platform company Onk Therapeutics has closed its USD 21.5m series A financing, led by current investors Acorn Bioventures and ALSHC, who were joined by Cormorant Asset Management, the company said.

The financing will enable Onk to maintain its strong momentum as it advances pre-clinical programs through comprehensive IND-enabling studies, including in-vivo proof-of-concept models across multiple programs.

Onk will also continue progress towards a GMP manufacturing capability, as it optimizes both its proprietary cell engineering platform and process development.

Onk's pipeline currently has three programs in pre-clinical development across both hematological malignancies and solid tumors.

The company is pioneering optimally engineered natural killer cell therapies, utilising a suite of engineering strategies to optimize cytotoxic potential, metabolic health and persistence of NK cells, while reducing the potential for their exhaustion in the tumor microenvironment.

This is made possible through the company's ability to achieve unique proprietary gene edits.

Onk's comprehensive owned and exclusively licensed patent estate covers CISH knockout in the field of human NK cells for the treatment of cancer, irrespective of the NK cell source; the expression of high affinity, membrane bound, TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand variants (TRAILv); and the deletion of checkpoint receptors in NK cells, including extracellular proteins CD96, TIGIT, Siglec-7 and PD-1.

These different strategies are being employed across the Onk pre-clinical product portfolio, including:

ONKT102, the company's lead program, an optimized-affinity CD38 CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) NK cell therapy being developed for the treatment of patients with relapsed refractory multiple myeloma

ONKT104, a CLL-1 CAR-NKprogram targeting AML stem cells, which is advancing through later stages of its pre-clinical evaluation

ONKT103, which is being optimized to treat solid tumors such as Ovarian, Breast and Non- Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) and is based on tumor associated MUC-1 targeting CAR NK cells
In addition, these programs will explore incorporating further novel gene edits, such as CISH KO and TRAIL variants targeting DR5 or DR4.

ONK has also recently started two programs focused on the potential of highly functional CISH KO NK cells.
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