Press Releases

Catamaran Bio Expands Collaboration for CAR-NK Cell Engineering with the University of Minnesota and Secures an Exclusive Patent License to Next Generation Manufacturing Technologies

–– Next phase of collaboration to primarily focus on continued advancement of transposon engineering for allogeneic CAR-NK cell therapies and optimization of CAR-NK cell manufacturability ––

–– Exclusively licensed patent rights cover next generation cell process technologies for optimizing CAR-NK manufacturability invented during earlier collaboration phase ––

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.– March 14, 2022 – Catamaran Bio, Inc., a biotechnology company developing off‑the-shelf chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-NK cell therapies to treat cancer, today announced an expansion and extension of its research collaboration with Branden Moriarity, PhD, of the University of Minnesota, to further advance the versatility of transposon engineering for arming CAR-NK cell therapies with functional attributes not found in earlier generations of cell therapies.

Catamaran has also secured an exclusive, worldwide license to University of Minnesota patent rights covering next generation cell expansion technologies which do not require the use of feeder cells. These new technologies were invented during the parties’ research collaboration which has been in place since early 2020. Cell expansion technologies which do not rely on the use of feeder cells offer the potential to improve the efficiency and decrease the cost of manufacturing CAR-NK cell therapies.

“This expanded collaboration and license demonstrate our commitment to develop and integrate the most advanced technologies for scalable and robust manufacturing of our allogeneic CAR-NK cell therapies,” said Alvin Shih, MD, Chief Executive Officer at Catamaran Bio. “We will continue to innovate in the areas of cell engineering and processing to keep Catamaran on the leading edge of CAR-NK cell therapy manufacturing and to allow us to rapidly advance the most effective cell therapies for cancer patients.”

In the new phase of the collaboration, research teams from the University of Minnesota and Catamaran will further optimize the TcBusterTM transposon system, a next generation nonviral genetic modification system which has been integrated into Catamaran’s TAILWINDTM platform. TcBuster was engineered for use in human immune cells by a team led by Dr. Branden Moriarity, Catamaran’s scientific co-founder and Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology/Oncology, the University of Minnesota. Catamaran licensed the TcBuster transposon system from Bio-Techne Corporation.

“In contrast to viral engineering methods commonly used today to make cell therapies, transposon genetic modification systems offer greater versatility because they can carry larger and more complex genetic payloads and they allow for multiplex gene editing in one step,” said Joseph Gold, PhD, Vice President, Technical Operations and Manufacturing at Catamaran Bio. “With our extended collaboration with Dr. Moriarity’s lab, we will further expand the boundaries of what is possible with transposon engineering to ensure that we are able to develop CAR-NK cell therapies with all of the desired functional attributes to optimize effectiveness against solid tumors.”

About Catamaran Bio

Catamaran Bio is developing novel, off-the-shelf chimeric antigen receptor (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 and follow us on LinkedIn and @CatamaranBio on Twitter.

TcBuster™ is a trademark of Bio-Techne Corporation.


Catamaran contact:
Mark Boshar, Chief Operating Officer

Media Contact:
Kathryn Morris, The Yates Network