Broadened agreement includes the development of novel technologies for allogeneic CAR-NK cell expansion
Catamaran also secures broad worldwide license to TcBuster™ transposon system for clinical and commercial manufacturing of next generation cell therapies
CAMBRIDGE, MA and MINNEAPOLIS, MN – June 24, 2021 – Catamaran Bio and Bio-Techne Corporation (NASDAQ: TECH) today announced an expansion of their collaboration for the development of cell engineering and cell process technologies for use by Catamaran in the manufacturing of CAR-NK cell therapy products.
The companies have now broadened the scope of their collaboration to include the development of novel cell expansion technologies for use in the manufacturing of CAR‑NK cell therapy products. In addition, Catamaran has secured a broad worldwide license to Bio‑Techne’s rights related to the TcBuster™ transposon system for use in the research, clinical and commercial manufacturing of next generation allogeneic cell therapy products. Catamaran has integrated the TcBuster transposon system, a non-viral cell engineering technology that enables multiplex gene editing and efficient delivery of large genetic payloads, into its TAILWIND™ platform for CAR-NK cell therapies.
The initial collaboration between Catamaran and Bio-Techne, which began in 2020, has been focused on optimizing the application of the TcBuster transposon system to CAR-NK cell engineering. The TcBuster transposon system was discovered in the lab of Catamaran’s scientific co-founder, Branden Moriarity, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology/Oncology at the University of Minnesota and acquired by Bio-Techne in 2019.
“We have established a successful track record of collaborating with Bio-Techne to optimize technologies for use in CAR-NK cell engineering and manufacturing. This collaboration and license exemplify our strategy to access technologies that provide important advantages in the cell therapy manufacturing process, as we position Catamaran as a leader in developing off-the-shelf CAR-NK cell therapies for solid tumors,” said Alvin Shih, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Catamaran Bio.
“Our agreements with Catamaran open the path for Bio-Techne’s cutting-edge cell engineering and process technologies to deliver gene-modified CAR-NK cell therapies for cancer,” said Dave Eansor, President of Bio-Techne’s Protein Sciences Segment. “We are delighted to expand our relationship with Catamaran and increase our impact in the cell therapy space.”
Through the collaboration, the Catamaran and Bio-Techne teams are focused on developing and enhancing technologies for scalable and robust manufacturing of allogeneic CAR-NK cell therapies. Bio-Techne will contribute innovative cell expansion technologies and both companies will contribute know-how to enable large-scale production of functional CAR-NK cells.
“We are excited to be making advances with innovative technologies that enable Catamaran to achieve scalable and robust manufacturing processes for our CAR-NK cell therapies. We are committed to incorporating transformative technologies into our TAILWIND platform as we advance our product candidates toward the clinic and enable allogeneic CAR-NK cell therapies to reach their therapeutic potential,” said Vipin Suri, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer of Catamaran Bio.
About the TAILWIND™ platform
Catamaran’s TAILWIND™ platform integrates proprietary capabilities to create novel, allogeneic CAR‑NK cell therapies by harnessing the natural cancer-fighting properties of natural killer (NK) cells and enhancing them with the power of synthetic biology and innovative NK cell engineering and manufacturing. With the TAILWIND platform, CAR-NK cells are programmed with NK cell-specific CAR architectures and potency-boosting switches to neutralize the hostile tumor microenvironment and enable efficacy against diverse cancer types, especially solid tumors. Additionally, the TAILWIND platform includes proprietary, non-viral NK cell engineering technology for efficient modification of NK cells with customized genetic programs enabled by synthetic biology. Catamaran’s CAR-NK cell therapies use healthy donor cells that are engineered and manufactured for off‑the‑shelf use, unlike current CAR-T cell therapies that use a patient’s own genetically modified T cells and require a customized, multi-week manufacturing process.
About Catamaran Bio
Catamaran Bio is developing novel, off-the-shelf CAR-NK cell therapies designed to treat a broad range of cancers, including solid tumors. Our proprietary capabilities enable us to harness the natural cancer-fighting properties of NK cells and enhance and tailor their effectiveness with the power of synthetic biology and innovative non-viral cell engineering. We are using our TAILWIND™ platform, an integrated suite of technologies, to specifically address the end-to-end methods of engineering, processing and manufacturing NK cells and rapidly advance our pipeline of CAR-NK cell therapy programs. Our team combines experienced biopharmaceutical leadership with founding scientists who are pioneers in NK cell biology, engineering, manufacturing and clinical application. Catamaran is backed by leading financial and corporate investors, including SV Health Investors, Sofinnova Partners, Lightstone Ventures, Takeda Ventures, Astellas Venture Management, and the UMN Discovery Capital investment program. For more information, please visit www.catamaranbio.com and follow us on LinkedIn and @CatamaranBio on Twitter.
Bio-Techne Corporation (NASDAQ: TECH) is a global life sciences company providing innovative tools and bioactive reagents for the research and clinical diagnostic communities. Bio-Techne products assist scientific investigations into biological processes and the nature and progress of specific diseases. They aid in drug discovery efforts and provide the means for accurate clinical tests and diagnoses. With thousands of products in its portfolio, Bio-Techne generated approximately $739 million in net sales in fiscal 2020 and has approximately 2,600 employees worldwide. For more information on Bio-Techne and its brands, please visit www.bio-techne.com.
Mark Boshar, Chief Operating Officer
Kathryn Morris, The Yates Network
David Clair, Senior Director Investor Relations and Corporate Development