CULVER CITY, Calif. & MIRAMAR, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Altor BioScience Corporation (Altor), a leading developer of novel cytokine-based immunotherapeutics for cancer and infectious diseases and NantKwest Inc. (Nasdaq: NK), a clinical-stage immunotherapy company focused on harnessing the unique power of off-the-shelf Natural Killer (NK) cells to treat cancer, infectious diseases and inflammatory disorders announced today the establishment of a co-development agreement focused on Altor’s lead candidates developed from its proprietary technology platforms, based on cytokines Interleukin-15 (IL-15) and Interleukin-2 (IL-2), that are currently in several Phase 1/2 clinical trials for hematologic and solid tumors.
Under the terms of the agreement, Altor and NantKwest will exclusively collaborate on the development of therapeutic applications combining Altor’s proprietary IL-15 superagonist (ALT-803) and its single-chain T cell receptor/IL-2 fusion protein (ALT-801) products with NantKwest’s proprietary NK cell therapy platforms for oncology indications. Financial terms of this co-development are not disclosed.
Hing C. Wong, Ph.D., Altor’s founder and CEO stated, “This partnership is a significant strategic collaboration for Altor and NantKwest. We believe there are significant opportunities to develop groundbreaking NK cell-based therapies using ALT-803 and ALT-801 in concert with NantKwest’s proprietary NK cell therapy and guided by a comprehensive genomic and proteomic molecular analysis using GPS cancer in the war against cancer. As Altor’s immunotherapeutic platform can play a key role in activating NK and T cells, we are enthusiastic to explore the synergy of this collaboration and rapidly advance clinical evaluation of these combination therapies in patients with cancer. Cell-based therapy combinations with Altor’s proprietary immunotherapeutics are an important component of our corporate strategy and we are excited to participate in the Cancer Moonshot 2020 program and the QUILT trials.”
Patrick Soon-Shiong, M.D., FRCS (C), FACS, NantKwest’s CEO, commented, “Cell based therapies and comprehensive genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic analysis of the tumor tissue represents the future of precision immuno-oncology and the opportunity to bring the potential of 21st century medicine to patients today. As an off-the-shelf therapy, NantKwest’s proprietary, natural killer cell therapy offers a simple, easy-to-use therapy that we believe can become the standard of care for a broad range of cancer types. Recognizing the importance of omics guided (www.gpscancer.com) combination therapy to further improve therapeutic effectiveness and patient outcomes, the Cancer MoonShot 2020 program (www.cancermoonshot2020.org) was launched in January 2016 to bring together a wide range of novel therapeutic agents that can be utilized in novel, synergistic combinations. Altor’s ALT-803 and ALT-801 are two such therapeutic agents that offer the potential to be used in combination with NantKwest’s natural killer cell therapies to further improve therapeutic effectiveness and patient outcomes.”
About Altor BioScience Corporation
Altor is a privately held, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel immunotherapeutics for the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases. Altor’s engineered cytokine technology platforms are centered on the immunostimulatory properties of the cytokines IL-15 and IL-2. These cytokines provide essential links between the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system and induce the activation, proliferation, and persistence of NK and T cells, which are critical in the body’s defense against cancer and infection.
The lead candidate in Altor’s IL-15 platform is ALT-803, a novel IL-15 superagonist complex, which possesses improved pharmacokinetic properties and enhanced anti-tumor activity compared to IL-15. Preclinical studies have demonstrated that ALT-803 simultaneously mobilizes both the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system to elicit rapid, robust, and long-lasting responses against cancer and virally-infected cells. ALT-803 also potently activates NK cells and enhances antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) of antibodies in various experimental models. Combination studies of ALT-803 with antibodies, targeted agents, and vaccines are underway and will further implement the role of ALT-803 in immunotherapy combinations for various disease indications. ALT-803 is currently being evaluated in eight Phase 1/2 clinical trials for patients with solid or hematological tumors or in HIV infected individuals.
Altor has also developed ALT-801, a fusion protein linking IL-2 to a single-chain T cell receptor domain capable of specifically recognizing tumor cells that overexpress p53 on their cell surface. When tested in various tumor models, ALT-801 exhibited significantly more potent anti-tumor activity and less toxicity than IL-2, with improved pharmacokinetics and enhanced immunostimulatory activity. Altor has completed three clinical trials evaluating ALT-801 for patients with solid tumors, including a Phase 2 trial in advanced bladder cancer.
Altor is leveraging its extensive network of research and clinical collaborations, including leading cancer institutes and universities, toward actively exploring the potential clinical utilities of ALT-803 and ALT-801 against cancer and infectious diseases. In various experimental models, ALT-803 and ALT-801 exhibit potent immunostimulatory activity when administered in combination with other types of therapeutic agents. Altor is distinctively positioning its immunotherapeutic platform to be employed as the backbone therapy in next-generation combination immunotherapy approaches. For more information, please visit http://www.altorbioscience.com/.
About NantKwest Inc.
NantKwest (Nasdaq:NK) is a pioneering, next generation, clinical-stage immunotherapy company focused on harnessing the unique power of our immune system using natural killer (NK) cells to treat cancer, infectious diseases and inflammatory diseases. NK cells are the body’s first line of defense due to the innate ability of NK cells to rapidly identify and destroy cells under stress, such as cancer or virally-infected cells.
NantKwest’s unique NK cell-based platform, with the capacity to grow active killer cells as a biological cancer therapy, has been designed to induce cell death against cancer or infected cells by three different modes of action: (1) Direct killing using activated NK cells (aNK) that release toxic granules directly into the cell through cell to cell contact, (2) Antibody-mediated killing using haNKs, which are NK cells engineered to incorporate a high affinity receptor that binds to an administered antibody, enhancing the cancer cell killing effect of that antibody, and (3) Targeted activated killing using taNKs, which are NK cells engineered to incorporate chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) to target tumor-specific antigens found on the surface of cancer cells.
Our aNK, haNK and taNK platform addresses certain limitations of T cell therapies including the reduction of risk of serious "cytokine storms" reported after T cell therapy. As an “off-the-shelf” therapy, NantKwest's NK cells do not rely on a patient’s own often compromised immune system. In Phase 1 clinical trials in patients with late stage cancer, NantKwest's NK cells have been successfully administered as an outpatient infusion therapy without any reported severe side effects, even at doses of 10 billion cells.
By leveraging an integrated and extensive genomics and transcriptomics discovery and development engine, together with a pipeline of multiple, clinical-stage, immuno-oncology programs that include a Phase 2 trial for a rare form of melanoma and the planned initiation of a clinical trial of NK cells targeted to breast cancer, we believe NantKwest is uniquely positioned to be the premier immunotherapy company and transform medicine by delivering living drugs in a bag and bringing novel NK cell-based therapies to routine clinical care. For more information, please visit http://www.nantkwest.com.
About Cancer MoonShot 2020
The Cancer MoonShot 2020 program is one of the most comprehensive cancer collaborative initiative launched to date, seeking to accelerate the potential of combination immunotherapy as the next generation standard of care in cancer patients. This initiative aims to explore a new paradigm in cancer care by initiating randomized Phase II trials in patients at all stages of disease in 20 tumor types in 20,000 patients within the next 36 months. These findings will inform Phase III trials and the aspirational moonshot to develop an effective vaccine-based immunotherapy to combat cancer by 2020. For more information, please visit www.cancermoonshot2020.org and follow Cancer MoonShot 2020 on Twitter.
About GPS Cancer™
GPS Cancer™ is a unique, comprehensive test available through NantHealth. GPS Cancer integrates whole genome (DNA) sequencing, whole transcriptome (RNA) sequencing, and quantitative proteomics through mass spectrometry, providing oncologists with a comprehensive molecular profile of a patient’s cancer to inform personalized treatment strategies. GPS Cancer testing is conducted in CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited laboratories, and is a key enabler for Cancer MoonShot 2020, the world’s most comprehensive cancer collaborative initiative seeking to accelerate the potential of combination immunotherapy as the next generation standard of care in cancer patients. For more information, visit www.gpscancer.com and www.cancermoonshot2020.org.