■ Cytokine-induced memory-like (CIML) NK cells engaged and activated endogenous adaptive immunity in the tumor microenvironment (TME) —
■ WU-NK-101 demonstrated PD-L1 and MHC-I checkpoint upregulation in solid tumor models-
■ Data highlight the potential of WU-NK-101 to reverse primary and acquired mechanisms of immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) resistance —
ST. LOUIS, MO and SAN DIEGO, CA, April 19, 2023 – Wugen, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing a pipeline of off-the-shelf cell therapies to treat a broad range of hematological and solid tumor malignancies, today presented data on WU-NK-101, the company’s lead memory natural killer (NK) cell therapy product, in a poster session at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2023, taking place in Orlando, Florida from April 14 – 19, 2023.
“These data build on the growing body of evidence demonstrating the broad, powerful immuno-oncology applications of WU-NK-101,” said Kumar Srinivasan, Ph.D., M.B.A., President and Chief Executive Officer of Wugen. “In addition to our ongoing efforts to advance WU-NK-101 for AML and colorectal cancer, we plan to explore WU-NK-101 as a salvage therapy for patients who have failed or are resistant to immune checkpoint blockade treatment, given the tremendous need and lack of options in this population.”
“WU-NK-101 has a unique phenotype that supports enhanced cytotoxicity, metabolic fitness and flexibility, and resistance to immunosuppression within the TME,” added Sergio Rutella, M.D., Ph.D., FRCPath, FRSB, Professor of Cancer Immunotherapy at Nottingham Trent University, and a co-author of the study. “Today’s findings further enhance WU-NK-101’s anti-tumor profile, showing that these cells can also enhance the adaptive immune response in the TME, upregulate key checkpoints, and potentially increase cytotoxicity in combination with checkpoint inhibitors. These findings are extremely promising and suggest a synergistic effect when combining WU-NK-101 with CPI antibodies to treat solid tumors.”
Today’s presentation highlighted the following:
● Cytokine-induced memory-like (CIML) NK treatment in relapsed/refractory acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients was associated with high cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) infiltration and led to modifications in the tumor microenvironment (TME) towards a more T-cell amenable environment in solid tumors.
● CIML-NK cell infiltration positively and significantly correlated with an abundance of activated T cells and with dendritic cell infiltration, suggesting coordinated changes in immune cell populations within the TME after treatment.
● PD-L1 and MHC-I checkpoint upregulation by WU-NK-101 was confirmed in in vitro and in vivo solid tumor models.
● In in vitro models, WU-NK-101 secreted factors augmented PD-L1 and MHC-I expression, with a dose-dependent increase observed.
● In vivo xenograft models confirmed the efficacy of WU-NK-101 as a monotherapy and confirmed in vitro findings of increased checkpoint expression post-treatment.
● The combination of WU-NK-101 with checkpoint inhibitor (CPI) antibodies enhanced cytotoxicity in vitro.
● WU-NK-101 has the potential to reverse the primary and acquired mechanisms of immune checkpoint blockade resistance.
The details of Wugen’s presentation at AACR are as follows:
Title: WU-NK-101 as Salvage Therapy Post Immune Checkpoint Blockade (ICB)
Abstract Number: 6418
Date and Time: Wednesday, April 19, 2023, 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ET
Location: Section 25
Additional meeting information can be found at https://www.aacr.org/meeting/aacr-annual-meeting-2023/.
WU-NK-101 is a novel immunotherapy harnessing the power of memory natural killer (NK) cells to treat liquid and solid tumors. Memory NK cells are hyper-functional, long-lasting immune cells that exhibit enhanced anti-tumor activity and a cytokine-induced memory-like (CIML) phenotype. This rare cell population has a superior phenotype, proliferation capacity, and metabolic fitness that makes it better suited for cancer therapy than other NK cell therapies. Wugen is applying its proprietary MonetaTM platform to advance WU-NK-101 as a commercially scalable, off-the-shelf cell therapy for cancer. WU-NK-101 is currently in development for acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) and solid tumors.
Wugen, Inc., is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing the next generation of off-the-shelf memory natural killer (NK) and CAR-T cell therapies for cancer. Wugen is leveraging its proprietary MonetaTM platform and deep genomic engineering expertise to pioneer a new class of memory NK cell therapies to treat hematological and solid tumor malignancies. For more information, please visit www.wugen.com.