Ginkgo Bioworks and WARF’s Partnership to Discover Next Generation T-Cell Therapies

Kadeja Johnson
18 April 2023
Cell Therapy
Gene Therapy
Viral/Non-Viral Vectors
The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) and Ginko Bioworks, a leading horizontal platform for cell programming, announced a partnership to utilize Ginko’s propriety high-throughput combinatorial CAR discovery and screening platform with the aim of discovering next generation GD2 CAR–T cell therapies.

Ginkgo will collaborate with the University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers Professor Krisanu Saha, as Principal Investigator and Dr Christian Capitini as a Co-Principle Investigator. This partnership is to develop a GD2 CAR-T cell therapeutic candidate that has improved persistence, proliferation, fitness and other functional properties to improve efficacy for the treatment of solid tumors such as neuroblastoma.

Neuroblastoma generally affects young children. The therapeutic candidate GD2 CAR-T uses a non-viral, site specific integration method developed by Professor Saha and published in the Journal for the Immunotherapy of Cancer: Production and characterization of virus-free, CRISPR-CAR T cells capable of inducing solid tumor regression.

Ginkgo and WARF plan to collaborate on the development of a pooled in vivo screening platform to advance novel CAR discovery further.

“Ginkgo’s high throughput screening method has proven successful in enabling massively parallel testing of CAR designs, and has already led to the discovery of new intracellular domains (ICD) combinations,” comments Krishanu Saha, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “By partnering with Ginkgo, we aim to unlock the potential to transform patient outcomes and reimagine the future of solid tumor cancer treatment.”

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CAR-T cell therapies show exciting promise for the treatment of cancer, however, their use has been limited to targeting blood cancers as they failed to demonstrate consistent efficacy in treating solid tumors. 90% of adult human cancers are solid tumors, T-cell exhaustion is a part of the challenge when applying CAR T-cell therapies to solid tumors where the dysfunction arises from excessive antigen stimulation in the immunosuppressive environment of a solid tumor. By utilizing Ginko’s high-throughput combinational CAR discovering the platform WARF and Ginko hope to work towards tackling this challenge.

“WARF is delighted to see this important collaboration,” states Erik Iverson, WARF CEO. “We know these alliances between our university researchers and leading biotech industry partners have the potential to result in benefits that positively impact human health.”

“It’s especially exciting to work with pioneers like Professors Saha and Capitini, who have pushed R&D boundaries in the laboratory and whose approach is thoroughly grounded in the translation of their findings for clinical impact.” said Narendra Maheshri, Head of Mammalian Engineering at Ginkgo.

Source: Ginkgo Bioworks Press Release


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