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National U of Singapore, St. Jude license jointly owned Natural Killer cell technology

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: June 13th, 2018

The National University of Singapore (NUS) and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital have licensed a jointly owned cancer-fighting technology that generates Natural Killer (NK) immune cells to Nkarta Therapeutics, a privately-held cell therapy company.

The worldwide exclusive license agreement, negotiated by the Industry Liaison Office (ILO) of NUS and the St. Jude Office of Technology Licensing (OTL), includes several issued patents and patent applications related to methods to generate large numbers of fully functional NK cells as well as compositions of chimeric receptors for targeting NK cells to tumors and extending their life-span. 

The licensed technologies are based on discoveries by Professor Dario Campana, MD, PhD, of NUS and formerly of St. Jude, who is credited with major advances in chimeric antigen receptor (CAR-T) cell therapy in addition to Natural Killer cell therapy.

“Through this agreement, we have solidified our position as leaders in Natural Killer cell technology,” said Paul Hastings, president and chief executive officer of Nkarta. “Natural Killer cells have a unique, innate ability to target and destroy cancer cells, but the amount generated by the body is not sufficient to overcome the disease. With this license we have gained access to exclusive expansion and targeting technologies that will generate an abundant supply of our proprietary engineered and enhanced NK cells that can selectively kill tumor cells.”

Dr. Campana added, “As a scientific founder of Nkarta, I am pleased to see the company advance its technology, which enhances the potential of NK cells as a next-generation cell therapy.”

Source: GlobeNewswire

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