With the rights to human iPSC technology, SCG can mass-produce off-the-shelf natural killer cell therapy, making it more affordable and accessible to patients.
Singapore-based SCG Cell Therapy Pte Ltd (“SCG”), a leading biotechnology company, has acquired the rights to human “induced pluripotent stem cell” (iPSC) technology, from the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (“A*STAR”)’s Accelerate Technologies Pte Ltd (“A*ccelerate”).
The technology enables SCG to expand its cell therapy product portfolio and develop off-the-shelf cell-based cancer immunotherapy. “iPSC is a technology that is derived from skin or blood cells that are reprogrammed back into an embryonic-like pluripotent state that can produce any type of human cell. This would allow for the production of a steady source of cells for all types of cell therapy,” said Dr. Adrian Teo, Principal Investigator at A*STAR’s Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB). SCG will use the iPSC technology to develop off-the-shelf natural killer (NK) cell therapy.
NK cells are an important part of the innate immune system; they are the first immune cells to respond to foreign harmful substances or antigens, such as viruses and cancers. With its unique nature, NK cells can be used as allogeneic cell therapy that does not need to be matched to individual patients. This is because NK cells can recognise targets without major histocompatibility complex (MHC) restriction or prior sensitisation as opposed to T cells, which will only respond to an antigen when it is bound to a particular MHC molecule. Additionally, NK cells also do not induce graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), which occurs when transplanted cells attack a recipient’s body.
“The advanced iPSC technology developed by A*STAR provides a promising future in mass NK cell production, offering standardised, off-the-shelf cell therapy products at a more affordable cost and more readily available to patients,” said Frank Wang Shuli, Chief Executive Officer of SCG Cell Therapy.
The global NK cell therapeutics market is projected to reach US$5 billion by 2026, according to Allied Market Research. Venture investment in the sector totals hundreds of millions of dollars.
Cell therapy has revolutionised the treatment against aggressive and deadly cancers. But often, these therapies must be tailored for an individual patient to avoid severe side effects, delaying the manufacturing process and pushing their price into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
NK cells allow off-the-shelf manufacturing – making it viable to be produced in large quantities and stored for extended periods. This significantly lowers manufacturing cost – by at least 10 times – as compared to autologous cell therapy products.
“With Singapore’s world-class science and leading biopharmaceutical manufacturing infrastructure, SCG strategically positioned the country as its international hub of cell therapy research, manufacturing and clinical development. This collaboration furthers our mission and capabilities to develop novel immunotherapies for patients. Leveraging A*STAR’s iPSC technology with our expertise in cell therapy development will put SCG at the forefront of cell therapy development in Asia,” Frank added.
Cell therapy holds great promise in addressing unmet medical needs. “We are pleased to partner with SCG to extend our knowledge in iPSC technology towards the development of NK cell therapy, which offers a promising therapeutic option to patients,” said Prof. Wanjin Hong, Executive Director of IMCB, A*STAR. [APBN]
Source: SCG Cell Therapy Pte Ltd