Partnership combines Umoja’s technologies in gene-edited iPSCs and immune differentiation for persistent anti-tumor activity with TreeFrog Therapeutics’ biomimetic platform for the mass-production of iPSC-derived cell therapies in large-scale bioreactors.
SEATTLE and PESSAC, France / June 10th, 2022 – Umoja Biopharma, Inc., an immuno-oncology company pioneering off-the-shelf, integrated therapeutics that reprogram immune cells to treat patients with solid and hematologic malignancies, and TreeFrog Therapeutics, a biotechnology company aimed at making safer, more efficient and more affordable cell therapies based on induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), announced today that they have entered into a collaboration to evaluate Umoja’s iPSC platform within TreeFrog’s C-Stem™ technology for scalable expansion and immune cell differentiation in bioreactors.
“Together, the successful pairing of Umoja’s RACR™ engineered iPS cells and TreeFrog’s C-Stem™ technology could overcome several challenges facing ex vivo allogeneic therapies,” said Ryan Larson, Ph.D., Vice President and Head of Translational Science at Umoja. “Two major industry-wide challenges include the ability to scale iPSC-based culture while maintaining cell health, quality, and efficient immune cell differentiation. TreeFrog’s biomimetic C-Stem™ technology is the perfect complementary development platform for our RACR™ technology, a pairing which could result in controlled, efficient iPSC expansion and differentiation into immune cells, with improved yields and quality. In addition to enhancing the differentiation and yield of immune cells within the manufacturing process, our RACR™ system should bring therapeutic benefit to patients, allowing for safe in vivo engraftment and persistence of tumor-killing cells without requirements for toxic lymphodepleting chemotherapy.”
Umoja is developing an engineered iPSC platform that addresses many challenges associated with ex vivo cell therapy manufacturing, including limited scalability and manufacturing complexity. Umoja’s iPSCs are engineered with a synthetic rapamycin-activated cytokine receptor (RACR™) to drive differentiation to, and expansion of innate cytotoxic lymphoid cells, including but not limited to natural killer (NK) cells in the absence of exogenous cytokines and feeder cells.
TreeFrog’s proprietary C-Stem™ technology relies on the high-throughput encapsulation (>1,000 capsules/second) of hiPSCs within biomimetic alginate shells, which promote in vivo-like exponential growth and protect cells from external stress. In 2021, C-Stem™ was demonstrated to allow for unprecedented iPSC expansion in 10L bioreactors, while preserving stem cell quality. Also enabling direct in-capsule iPSC differentiation, C-Stem™ constitutes a scalable, end-to-end, and GMP-compatible manufacturing platform for iPSC-derived cell therapies.
Frédéric Desdouits, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer at TreeFrog added “Our primary goal is to bring the benefits of the C-Stem™ technology to patients as fast as possible, either through in-house programs or strategic alliances with cell therapy leaders. Partnering with Umoja is an important step forward in immuno-oncology. Besides scale-up and cell quality, the in vivo persistence of allogeneic therapies remains a critical challenge in the industry. We believe Umoja’s platform will allow for safer and more efficient allogeneic cell therapies in immuno-oncology. We look forward to rapidly advancing this joint approach to clinic and contributing to the future of off-the shelf cancer treatments.”
About Umoja Biopharma
Umoja Biopharma, Inc. is an early clinical-stage company advancing an entirely new approach to immunotherapy. Umoja Biopharma, Inc. is a transformative multi-platform immuno-oncology company founded with the goal of creating curative treatments for solid and hematological malignancies by reprogramming immune cells in vivo to target and fight cancer. Founded based on pioneering work performed at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and Purdue University, Umoja’s novel approach is powered by integrated cellular immunotherapy technologies including the VivoVec™ in vivo delivery platform, the RACR™/CAR in vivo cell expansion/control platform, and the TumorTag™ targeting platform.
Designed from the ground up to work together, these platforms are being developed to create and harness a powerful immune response in the body to directly, safely, and controllably attack cancer. Umoja believes that its approach can provide broader access to the most advanced immunotherapies and enable more patients to live better, fuller lives.
To learn more, visit http://umoja-biopharma.com/.
About TreeFrog Therapeutics
TreeFrog Therapeutics is a French-based biotech company aiming to unlock access to cell therapies for millions of patients. TreeFrog Therapeutics is developing a pipeline of therapeutic candidates using proprietary C-Stem™ technology, allowing for the mass production of induced pluripotent stem cells and their differentiation into ready-to-transplant microtissues with unprecedented scalability and cell quality. Bringing together over 80 biophysicists, cell biologists and bioproduction engineers, TreeFrog Therapeutics raised $82M over the past 3 years to advance its pipeline in regenerative medicine and immuno-oncology. The company is currently opening technological hubs in Boston, USA, and Kobe, Japan, to drive the adoption of C-Stem™ and build strategic alliances with leading academic, biotech and industry players in the field of cell therapy.
To learn more, visit https://treefrog.fr/