LEXINGTON, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--KSQ Therapeutics, Inc. ("KSQ"), a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing cancer therapies using its proprietary CRISPRomics® discovery platform, and CTMC, a joint venture between National Resilience, Inc. and MD Anderson Cancer Center, announced today a strategic collaboration to expedite the development of KSQ's two lead engineered tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (eTIL®) programs, KSQ-001EX and KSQ-004EX, both of which are advancing toward clinical studies for the treatment of solid tumors.
"Our eTIL programs – which edit the SOCS1 and Regnase-1 genes – have the potential to be first- and best-in-class cell therapies for cancer treatment. As our eTIL programs move through IND-enabling studies, our partnership with CTMC will have us ready to manufacture KSQ-001EX and KSQ-004EX for clinical studies," said Qasim Rizvi, Chief Executive Officer of KSQ. "We believe our eTIL programs have the potential to address the significant unmet need in the solid tumor space."
"TIL therapies have tremendous potential for the treatment of solid tumors as they are naturally selected to target a host of tumor antigens specific to the patient. However, repeated antigen exposure in an immunosuppressive tumor environment has driven T-cells to a dysfunctional status. We believe the key to unlocking their full potential resides in the engineering of TIL therapies to enable maximal function within the tumor microenvironment," said Jason Bock, CEO of CTMC. "This is where KSQ's approach of identifying the optimal gene targets to boost TIL function fits nicely. We're thrilled to collaborate with them to bring these valuable therapies to patients."
KSQ-001EX and KSQ-004EX
KSQ-001EX, a single-edit eTIL that deletes the SOCS1 gene, and KSQ-004EX, a dual-edit eTIL that deletes both the SOCS1 and Regnase-1 genes, are KSQ's lead eTIL cell therapy programs, which have the potential to revolutionize the treatment of solid tumors. These potential first-in-class cell therapy programs were identified through our CRISPRomics platform as the optimal gene targets that drive T cell function, and we believe we can supercharge TIL therapies for potency and persistence by genetically modifying and optimizing them. In preclinical models, these eTIL therapies have demonstrated: enhanced potency and anti-tumor function, including in PD-1 refractory solid tumors; enhanced persistence and memory formation of T cells; and the opportunity to reduce or eliminate the need for lymphodepletion and IL-2 conditioning.
About KSQ Therapeutics
KSQ Therapeutics is advancing a pipeline of tumor- and immune-focused drug candidates to treat cancer across multiple drug modalities, including targeted therapies, adoptive cell therapies, and immunotherapies. KSQ's proprietary CRISPRomics® discovery engine enables genome-scale, in vivo validated, unbiased drug discovery across broad therapeutic areas. For more information, please visit the company's website at www.ksqtx.com and follow @ksq_tx on Twitter.
CTMC – a joint venture between MD Anderson Cancer Center and Resilience – was created to accelerate the development and manufacturing of impactful cell therapies for patients with cancer. Our strategic position within the Texas Medical Center, combined with our expertise in TIL and CAR-T development, manufacturing, and regulatory, converge to enable an accelerated path to IND for cell therapies. By leveraging the strengths of MD Anderson and Resilience we start clinical trials faster and provide a clear path to robust commercialization. Follow us @ctmc on LinkedIn and visit our website at www.ctmc.com.