Making Antigen-Presenting Cells With Cell Squeeze Technology

The founder and chief executive officer of SQZ Biotech discussed the potential of their APC platform to treat a variety of tumors.

“Right now, it's really difficult to make [cell therapies], it's very complicated in where you can and can't administer them and people are very constrained in what they can make them do. But if you can solve that fundamental problem of how do you tell a cell what to become, and how do you manufacture it in a scalable way, there's many different diseases that one can pursue and you should be able to implement it in a way that's very patient friendly. So, eliminating the need for preconditioning or hospitalization.”

SQZ Biotech’s novel approach to creating cell therapies relies on their proprietary Cell Squeeze technology to temporarily disrupt cell membranes and allow the entry of the biologic cargo, differentiating them from many emerging cell therapies that rely on viral vectors and multi-step manufacturing processes.1 The company hopes that this relatively simple approach may cause less dysfunction to the altered cells allow and for a wider application of cell therapies.

GeneTherapyLive spoke with Armon Sharei, PhD, founder and chief executive officer, SQZ, to learn more about the company’s technologies, including their Antigen Presenting Cell (APC) Platform created via Cell Squeeze that can be used to activate killer T-cell responses. He stressed how the ease of manufacturing offered by the Cell Squeeze technology allows for easy switches between antigens in creating APCs that can work against different targets.

Recent preclinical data presented at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) 2021 Annual Meeting, April 9-14, 2021, showed that SQZ-enhanced antigen-presenting cells demonstrated meaningful increases in CD8 T-cell response through incorporating costimulatory molecules and cytokine signaling.2 Sharei touched on these data and discussed further data on the APC platform to be presented in the upcoming year.

REFERENCES
1. Our Technology. SQZ Biotech. https://sqzbiotech.com/our-technology/
2. SQZ Biotech presents preclinical data on its mRNA-based enhanced APCs and the potential of the SQZ APC platform in KRAS driven tumors. News release. SQZ Biotech. April 10, 2021. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210410005002/en/SQZ-Biotech-Presents-Preclinical-Data-on-its-mRNA-based-enhanced-APCs-and-the-Potential-of-the-SQZ-APC-Platform-in-KRAS-Driven-Tumors