The European Patent Office (EPO) has granted a licensed patent to ONK Therapeutics covering CISH knockout (KO) in natural killer (NK) cells, irrespective of the source of the NK cells.
The patent includes human cord blood-derived, peripheral blood-derived, and NK cells derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).
CISH KO has been shown to improve the persistence, metabolic profile, and cytotoxicity of NK cells.
The patent granted by EPO specifically covers CISH KO NK cells, and cancer therapies that utilise NK cells with CISH KO, as well as NK cells engineered with the foundational CISH KO in combination with IL-15 (soluble or engineered), TGFβR2 KO, or TGFβR2 KO and IL-15 (soluble or engineered).
The patent granted to ONK’s licensor, WEHI (Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research), by the EPO is part of a portfolio which includes granted US, Australian, New Zealand and Japanese patents, as well as pending applications in several other countries.
ONK licensed the patent family relating to the KO of CISH in NK cells in an exclusive global patent license agreement from WEHI in 2021.
ONK Therapeutics’ CEO Chris Nowers said: “Editing of NK cells to knockout CISH has the potential to improve the potency and persistence of NK cell-based therapies and provide greater benefit to patients. We are actively exploring the merits of CISH KO alone or in combination with other gene edits such as TGFβR2 KO and IL-15 knock-in. We believe this is the foundational CISH KO patent, based on the earliest scientific discoveries and covers CISH KO NK cells from any source. We are excited to have this broad and evolving patent estate which underpins our scientific efforts in the field.”