Jun 20, 2022
Onward Therapeutics Makes a Strategic Investment in EMERCell for Their NK Cell Technology for Immunotherapy
Onward Therapeutics SA (Onward Therapeutics) and Emercell SAS (Emercell) announced today the recent exercise of Onward Therapeutics' second of three instalments of equity investment in Emercell. With this investment, Onward Therapeutics has become Emercell's majority shareholder.
Emercell has developed a platform technology to produce off-the-shelf natural killer (NK) cells. NK cells are highly potent immune effectors, used alone as a monotherapy, or in combination with therapeutic antibodies, or are genetically engineered to produce Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR)-NK cells for the treatment of hematological malignancies and solid tumors. NK-001 is an optimized cell therapy product consisting of highly activated and alloreactive allogeneic NK cells. Its patented manufacturing process allows full industrialization using the same batch of NK cells for multiple patients.
"This second equity investment in Emercell confirms that the NK-001 project has been advancing well since our first equity investment in February 2021, and we will be able to scale up and industrialize the production of activated NK cells rapidly, to offer new treatments for cancer patients," said Dr. C. Grace Yeh, Chairman and CEO of Onward Therapeutics.
"We are pleased that the collaboration with Onward Therapeutics has reached another critical milestone. Their investment allows us to pursue the NK-001 project and focus on the production of clinical batches," declared Dr. Patrick Henno, Founder and CEO of Emercell. "We can also start looking at further optimizing our production process for NK cells and exploring other potential new cell therapies," commented Dr. Alain Herrera, Chairman of the board of Emercell.
About Onward Therapeutics
Onward Therapeutics is an oncology company focusing on the identification and development of innovative medicines for the treatment of cancer. The Company, led by an experienced team in translational science and drug development, acquires licenses for potential development candidates and invests in partners with transformative technology platforms. Onward Therapeutics licensed a preclinical stage bispecific antibody (OT-A201) targeting two immune checkpoints from Biomunex Pharmaceuticals SAS, Paris, France; has an exclusive option to a worldwide license agreement for an onco-metabolism program with Institut du Cancer de Montpellier (ICM); and collaborates with Emercell SAS, Montpellier, France, in the development of NK-001, allogenic natural killer cells. In addition, the Company invested in Biomunex Pharmaceuticals SAS for their multi-specific antibody platform, and in Emercell SAS for their NK cell technology. The company is headquartered at Biopôle (a life sciences campus in Epalinges), near Lausanne, Switzerland, has an affiliate in Paris, France, and an office in Taipei, Taiwan.
Emercell is an oncology company developing a platform technology to produce off-the-shelf allogenic natural killer (NK) cells. The company's R&D activities are located at the IRMB (Institute of Regenerative Medicine and Biotherapies) at the Saint-Éloi University Hospital Center, Montpellier, France. Emercell's lead drug candidate, NK-001, is intended, among others, for the treatment of lymphoma patients who are refractory to conventional therapies. It is a patented process for pre-activating and amplifying allogeneic NK (Natural Killer) cells. Emercell collaborates with numerous industrial and academic partners. The company has received the support of the Occitanie Region (ADI) and Bpifrance and has obtained a FUI (financing). Emercell is a member of Eurobiomed.