CRISPR Therapeutics and Nkarta Collaborate on Natural Killer Cell Therapies

CRISPR Therapeutics and Nkarta have announced a partnership to develop two CRISPR/Cas9 gene-edited natural killer (NK) cell therapies for cancer. The first product the two companies will collaborate on will target the CD70 protein found on malignant blood cells and solid tumors.

According to CRISPR Therapeutics CEO Sam Kulkarni, PhD, the goal of the partnership is to develop an “NK+T” treatment that combines attributes of each engineered cell type to fight cancer.

“The collaboration started with the NK+T approach because we were looking for someone who could bring T-cell biology and manufacturing into our concept,” said Nkarta CEO Paul Hastings. “We looked at [CRISPR Therapeutics’] T cells and our NK cells and did some experiments with them, and lo and behold, it confirmed what we had already seen with our own experiments, which creates a pretty cool opportunity.”

The biopharmaceutical companies will split research and development costs and global profits related to these cell therapy candidates.

Sources: CRISPR Therapeutics press release, May 6, 2021; STAT, May 6, 2021.