On 7 November 2019, AvantGen, a biotechnology company with its array of technology platforms for antibody discovery, optimization, and novel NK cell engager generation, announced a strategic agreement with an undisclosed biopharmaceutical company for the purpose of generating multiple novel bi-specific NK cell engaging therapeutic antibody product candidates.
Under the terms of the agreement, AvantGen will be responsible for engineering bi-specific variants of specified molecules using its proprietary NK cell engager platform and the biopharmaceutical company’s antibodies against a novel disease target. The biopharmaceutical company will receive worldwide rights on an exclusive basis with respect to its proprietary target to develop and commercialize product candidates arising from the collaboration. AvantGen receives upfront payments and is eligible to receive milestone payments and royalties associated with the development and sale of any products derived from the collaboration.
For more details, check out the company’s press release here.
What are NK Cells: Natural killer (NK) cells, or killer (K) cells, represent an important subset of cellular mediators of the innate immune system. These cells are known to be instrumental in containing viral infections and regulating tumor development, while the adaptive immune system generates an antigen-specific response. Technically, they are classified as group I innate lymphocytes. Although they share a common progenitor, NK cells are very different from B-lymphocytes and T-lymphocytes and do not require specific antigen-based activation in order to function.
NK Cells as Therapeutic Tools: Several studies have demonstrated the various benefits of NK cells as a therapeutic tool. Currently, these cells are being evaluated across multiple clinical trials to treat various types of cancer and infectious diseases. Further, the genetic modification of NK cells has demonstrated additional benefits, and many companies are also working on developing allogeneic product candidates that can be used as off-the-shelf therapies.