Caribou Biosciences Announces Licensing Agreement for scFvs Targeting CD371 to Enable Development of Allogeneic Cell Therapies

Caribou Biosciences announced the execution of an exclusive license agreement with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) under which Caribou has rights to fully human anti-CD371 scFvs and intellectual property related thereto in the field of allogeneic CD371-targeted cell therapies including CAR-T, CAR-NK, or iPSC-derived cell products. The anti-CD371 scFvs were developed in the laboratory of Renier Brentjens, M.D., Ph.D. at MSK in collaboration with the Tri-Institutional Therapeutic Discovery Institute (Tri-I TDI). Tri-I TDI is a non-profit drug discovery company wholly owned by MSK, Weill Cornell Medicine, and The Rockefeller University (www.tritdi.org). MSK has the sole responsibility for licensing these scFvs and the related intellectual property for commercialization.

“CD371, also known as CLL-1, is an attractive target for both acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) due to its expression on these myeloid cancer cells, its enrichment in leukemic stem cells, and its absence on hematopoietic stem cells,” said Steven Kanner, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of Caribou. “Preclinical studies at MSK have demonstrated the antitumor efficacy of targeting CD371 for AML using these human scFvs in CAR-Ts.”

In-licensing these anti-CD371 scFvs further expands Caribou’s pipeline of allogeneic cell therapies for hematological malignancies. CB-010, Caribou’s lead allogeneic CAR-T program, targets CD19 and has been cleared by the FDA for clinical evaluation. CB-011, Caribou’s second allogeneic CAR-T therapy, targets BCMA. Caribou’s next-generation genome editing technologies enable high efficiency and specificity multiplex engineering, which is critical for the manufacture of CB-010 and CB-011. Caribou implements multiple strategies to boost CAR-T cell persistence to overcome T cell exhaustion and prevent rapid immune-mediated clearance.

“The opportunity to exclusively access fully human CD371-specific antibody fragments is exciting and we look forward to utilizing them to develop allogeneic cell therapies to treat AML and/or MDS,” said Rachel Haurwitz, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Caribou. “The combination of these scFvs and Caribou’s next-generation genome editing platform is a promising approach to addressing these difficult-to-treat myeloid malignancies with significant unmet medical need.”

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