Therapy Areas: Respiratory
Gilead, Dragonfly Forge Research Collaboration to Develop Natural Killer Cell Engagers in Oncology and Inflammation
2 May 2022 - - US-based biopharmaceutical company Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD) and biopharmaceutical company Dragonfly Therapeutics have forged a collaboration designed to advance a number of Dragonfly's novel natural killer cell engager-based immunotherapies for oncology and inflammation indications, the companies said.

NK cell engagers represent a novel mechanism with the potential to address a broad range of cancers, including potential for activity in checkpoint resistant and refractory tumors, as well as other disease areas such as inflammation.

Under the agreement, Gilead will receive an exclusive, worldwide license from Dragonfly for the 5T4-targeting investigational immunotherapy program, DF7001.

The agreement also grants Gilead options, after the completion of certain preclinical activities, to license exclusive, worldwide rights to develop and commercialize additional NK cell engager programs using the Dragonfly Tri-specific NK Engager (TriNKET) platform.

TriNKETs are activators of the innate and adaptive immune systems, recruiting NK and cytotoxic T cells into the tumor microenvironment.

DF7001 is a TriNKET designed to activate and direct NK and cytotoxic T cell killing against cancer cells.

The target of DF7001 is 5T4, a protein expressed on cancer cells and stromal cells that support tumor growth associated with poor prognosis in several cancers, including non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, and head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC).

DF7001 has the potential to trigger the killing of 5T4+ expressing cells, including tumor cells, cancer-associated fibroblasts and cancer stem cells.

The program is on track for filing an Investigational New Drug application in the first half of 2023.

Under the terms of the agreement, Gilead will make a USD 300m upfront payment to Dragonfly. In addition, Dragonfly is eligible to receive potential opt-in payments and performance-based development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments.

Dragonfly will also be eligible to receive royalties of up to 20% on worldwide net sales.

The transaction is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976.

DF7001 is an investigational product candidate; it is not approved by any regulatory agency for any use and has not been proven safe or efficacious.

Dragonfly Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering, developing and commercializing therapies that use its novel TriNKET technology to harness the body's innate immune system to bring breakthrough treatments to patients.

Gilead Sciences is a biopharmaceutical company that operates in more than 35 countries worldwide, with headquarters in Foster City, California.