NK:IO has been awarded £1.6m ($2.1m) in grant funding from Innovate UK’s New Cancer Therapeutics programme.
The funding will support preclinical development, including development of a manufacturing process in collaboration with the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, whose mission is to support the UK’s cell and gene therapy industry.
NK:IO is based on discoveries in natural killer (NK) cell biology from Hugh Brady, Professor of Immunology, and Matt Fuchter, Professor of Chemistry, at Imperial College.
NK:IO’s platform activates blood stem cell progenitors to yield NK cell tumour-killing potency and very high yield cell production. The platform also enables efficient engineering of progenitor cells to produce next-generation NK cells for further increases in potency or tumour targeting, which NK:IO is progressing for certain hard to treat tumour subtypes.
The company’s first indication targeted will be ovarian cancer, in collaboration with Prof Iain McNeish, Professor of Oncology at Imperial College and Director of the Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre.
Mike Romanos, Co-Founder and Interim CEO, NK:IO, said: “We are very excited by the potential of NK:IO’s platform to address unmet needs in cancer therapy and delighted to receive grant funding from this highly competitive new Innovate UK programme. The funding will directly support our collaboration with the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult in a programme of development work to scale our products and make them clinic-ready for our first clinical application in ovarian cancer.”