The TAILWIND™ platform is a proprietary integrated suite of technologies to design, engineer, and manufacture NK cells into safe, effective, and off-the-shelf cell therapy products for more patients and more cancer types, especially solid tumors. NK cells are innately cancer fighting and are attractive for allogeneic, off-the shelf cell therapy products. We program new biological functionalities into NK cells to create chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-NK cells with enhanced cancer killing function that are capable of overcoming the immunosuppresive tumor microenvironment to effectively address solid tumors.
Our differentiated TAILWIND platform generates novel CAR-NK cell therapies by harnessing the natural cancer-fighting properties of NK cells, the power of synthetic biology and innovative NK cell engineering. This new generation of cell therapies will advance the field into an era of safe, highly potent, off-the-shelf cell therapy products that can address solid tumors and other cancers.
Three proprietary and unique components of the TAILWIND platform differentiate Catamaran’s CAR-NK cell therapies:
- NK cell-specific CAR architecture
- Potency-boosting, biological switches
- Leading-edge, non-viral NK cell engineering
NK cell-specific CAR architecture
Challenge: Currently used CAR architectures do not optimally engage NK cell intracellular signaling pathways, resulting in less effective cancer cell killing.
Catamaran Solution: For NK cell activation and potency, we design and engineer novel combinations of CAR signaling domains and structural elements to achieve optimal intracellular signaling for robust production of immunomodulatory cytokines and enhanced cancer cell killing.
Potency-boosting modular circuits, switches and signals enabled by synthetic biology:
Challenge: The solid tumor microenvironment (TME) presents a myriad of barriers that suppress effective and durable immune responses.
Catamaran Solution: We use synthetic biology to program new biological circuits, switches and signals into CAR-NK cells to overcome immunosuppressive signals in the TME, promote functional persistence, and improve recruitment of other immune effectors. To improve activity in the hostile TME, we program our CAR-NK cells with new biological properties, including sense-and-respond switches and persistence signals.
Leading-edge transposon cell engineering system
Challenge: CAR-NK cells with added potency-boosting switches require delivery of large genetic payloads that is not feasible with conventional viral approaches.
Catamaran Solution: We are pioneering the application of transposon systems to efficiently deliver large genetic payloads into NK cells. Catamaran’s transposon-based technology has several advantages over viral-based approaches, including: (1) the ability to deliver multiple CARs, biological switches and persistence signals, all of which are needed to create effective CAR-NK therapeutics (2) the ability to perform single-step, multiplex cell engineering to allow versatility for programming of the CAR-NK cells and (3) a more cost-effective, streamlined manufacturing process.
In addition to creating potency-boosted CAR NK cells, we are building our TAILWIND platform to encompass the required technologies and capabilities across the full continuum of CAR-NK cell therapy process development and manufacturing, including cell sourcing, cell expansion and cryopreservation.