Optimizing Manufacturing of NK Cell and CAR T Therapies for Cancer Treatment

Jan Davidson, MD, PhD, chief medical officer, Wugen, discussed the company’s cell therapy platforms.

“The purpose is really to be able to create a completely cryo-preserved, off-the-shelf product which can be administered to patients readily. Most cellular products have been, to date, autologous products, which creates a certain lag time between being able to manufacture the product and be able to treat the patients. Having a universal, cryo-preserved product really decreases the lag time, in terms of treating patients, and hopefully will benefit patients a lot more.”

Wugen hopes to use their memory natural killer (NK) cell platform and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell platform to create efficient, off-the-shelf, allogeneic cell therapies to treat a variety of cancers. Their lead programs are WU-NK-101, an NK cell therapy and WU-CART-007, a CAR T-cell therapy.

WU-NK-101 was recently evaluated in a phase 1/2 study for the potential treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Data from this study showed the therapy to be well-tolerated, persistent, and active against AML. The therapy is also in preclinical studies in head and neck cancer and melanoma. 

WU-CART-007 is in preclinical studies in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Wugen plans to soon enroll patients in the phase 1/2 trial (NCT04984356) of WU-CART-007 and the phase 2 trial (NCT04893915) of WU-NK-101.

GeneTherapyLive spoke with Jan Davidson, MD, PhD, chief medical officer, Wugen, to learn more about the company’s cell therapy platforms. He also discussed challenges in manufacturing cell therapies and positive data seen in the NK program.