CYNK-101 is an investigational genetically modified natural killer (NK) cell therapy designed to synergize with antibody therapeutics for difficult to treat cancers of high unmet medical need
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted both Fast Track Designation and Orphan Drug Designation to CYNK-101 in first line metastatic HER2 positive gastric and gastroesophageal junction cancers
Phase 1/2a clinical trial is investigating the safety and efficacy of CYNK-101 in combination with trastuzumab and pembrolizumab in patients with G/GEJ cancer
FLORHAM PARK, N.J., July 27, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Celularity Inc. (Nasdaq: CELU) (“Celularity”), a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing placental-derived off-the-shelf allogeneic cell therapies, today announced that the first patient has been treated with CYNK-101, a novel allogeneic off-the-shelf human placental CD34+ stem cell derived NK cell therapeutic candidate that is genetically modified to express high-affinity and cleavage-resistant CD16 (FCGRIIIA) variant to enhance antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC). Earlier this year, CYNK-101 was granted both a Fast Track Designation and an Orphan Drug Designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) positive G/GEJ cancer.
“It is well understood that gastric cancer has less than desirable survival outcomes,” said Robert Hariri, M.D., Ph.D., Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Celularity. “CYNK-101 is built on the foundation of our unique placental-derived source material, which as compared to other cell sources has naturally enhanced proliferative potential, or stemness, that has been shown to be a determinant of persistence and efficacy potential. Using novel genetic engineering, we enhance the ability of CYNK-101 cells to synergize with approved antibodies and provide a novel, potentially non-cross resistant therapy that we believe will be effective in improving the lives of patients with G/GEJ cancers as well as a broad range of other indications.”
Dr. Darren Sigal, head of the gastrointestinal cancer section at The Scripps Cancer Research Institute, commented, “The dosing of the first patient in Celularity CYNK-101 gastric cancer program is an exciting milestone in the clinical development of cell therapies in solid tumors. NK cells possess inherent direct anti-solid tumor activity, recruit non-cross resistant anti-tumor T cells, and may induce memory T cells for long-term anti-cancer immune surveillance.”
Dr. Martin Gutierrez, principal investigator and Chief of Thoracic Oncology at John Theurer Cancer Center – Hackensack Meridian Health who treated the first patient said, “We believe NK cells are poised to be the key components of multipronged therapeutic strategies for cancer. It is our understanding that we administered what is the highest dose of allogeneic NK cells so far over a 21-day period. Those cells were derived from human placental hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells and genetically modified to express a variant of CD16 to enable high affinity and enhance antibody dependent cell mediated cytotoxicity. We administered 36 X 106 transduced CYNK-101/kg weekly for four weeks in combination with pembrolizumab and trastuzumab to a patient with Her2 positive gastroesophageal carcinoma. All infusions occurred in the outpatient setting.”
Phase 1/2a Clinical Trial of CYNK-101 in Gastric Cancer
CYNK-101 is currently being investigated in the Phase 1 portion of a multicenter Phase 1/2a clinical trial to evaluate the safety and preliminary efficacy of CYNK-101 in combination with trastuzumab and pembrolizumab, as a first-line treatment in patients with locally advanced unresectable or metastatic HER2 positive gastric/gastroesophageal (G/GEJ) adenocarcinoma. This study is utilizing a 3+3 open label design and will evaluate two escalating dosing cohort levels of CYNK-101 in combination with rhIL2 following an initial induction and lymphodepletion regimen. Once the maximum tolerated dose or recommended Phase 2 dose is determined in Phase 1, the Phase 2a portion of the study will commence (NCT05207722).
About Gastric Cancer
Gastric cancer is the fifth most common cancer worldwide. Advanced gastric cancer remains one of the hardest to cure, with a median overall survival (OS) of 10–12 months and a five-year OS of about 5–20%. Approximately 22% of patients with advanced gastric cancer have human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) overexpression or amplification.
Celularity’s therapeutic candidate based on its placental-derived genetically modified NK cell type is CYNK-101, an allogeneic, off-the-shelf human placental CD34+-derived NK cell product genetically modified to express high-affinity and cleavage-resistant CD16 (FCGRIIIA) variant to drive antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity. Currently CYNK-101 is being developed as a treatment in combination with standard chemotherapy, trastuzumab and pembrolizumab for HER2 positive overexpressing gastric or gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma. The safety and efficacy of CYNK-101 have not been established, and CYNK-101 has not been approved for any use by the FDA or any other analogous regulatory authority.
Celularity Inc. (Nasdaq: CELU) headquartered in Florham Park, N.J., is a clinical stage biotechnology company leading the next evolution in cellular medicine by developing allogeneic cryopreserved off-the-shelf placental-derived cell therapies, including therapeutic programs using unmodified natural killer (NK) cells, genetically modified NK cells, T-cells engineered with a CAR (CAR T-cells), and mesenchymal-like adherent stromal cells (ASCs). These therapeutic programs target indications in cancer, infectious and degenerative diseases. In addition, Celularity develops and manufactures innovative biomaterials also derived from the postpartum placenta. Celularity believes that by harnessing the placenta’s unique biology and ready availability, it can develop therapeutic solutions that address significant unmet global needs for effective, accessible, and affordable therapies.
To learn more, visit celularity.com.
This press release includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as well as within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. All statements other than statements of historical facts are “forward-looking statements,” including those relating to future events. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terminology such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “can,” “contemplate,” “continue,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “forecast,” “intends,” “may,” “might,” “outlook,” “plan,” “possible,” “potential,” “predict,” “project,” “seek,” “should,” “strive,” “target,” “will,” “would” and the negative of terms like these or other comparable terminology, and other words or terms of similar meaning. The forward-looking statements in this press release include, statements regarding CYNK-101’s ability to synergize with antibody therapies, CYNK-101’s potential as a therapy for G/GEJ cancers and other indications, the ability of NK cells to induce memory T cells, the role of NK cells in cancer therapeutic strategies, and the Phase 1/2a clinical trial of CYNK-101, among others. Many factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in these forward-looking statements, including but not limited to: the inherent risks in biotechnological development, including with respect to the development of novel cellular therapies, and the clinical trial and regulatory approval process; and risks associated with developments relating to Celularity’s competitors and industry, along with those risk factors are contained in Celularity’s filings and periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under the heading “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in such filings and reports, including Celularity’s annual report on Form 10-K for the year-ended December 31, 2021 and future filings and reports by Celularity. Undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made, and the facts and assumptions underlying the forward-looking statements may change. Except as required by law, Celularity disclaims any obligation to update these forward-looking statements to reflect future information, events or circumstances. These risks and uncertainties may be amplified by the ongoing COVID- 19 pandemic as well as other geopolitical events and Celularity’s cash position. There may be additional risks that Celularity does not presently know, or that Celularity currently believes are immaterial, that could also cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements. In addition, these forward-looking statements reflect Celularity’s current expectations, plans, or forecasts of future events and views as of the date of this communication. Subsequent events and developments could cause assessments to change. Accordingly, forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing Celularity’s views as of any subsequent date, and Celularity undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required under applicable securities laws.
Celularity Investor Contact:
Carlos Ramirez SVP, Investor Relations