Vor Biopharma and Metagenomi to Collaborate on Engineered Hematopoietic Stem-Cell Therapies
August 31, 2020 | Press Releases
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., — August 31, 2020 — Vor Biopharma, an oncology company pioneering engineered hematopoietic stem cells (eHSCs) for the treatment of cancer, and Metagenomi, a gene editing company discovering breakthrough systems for curing genetic disease, today announced that Vor will evaluate the potential use of Metagenomi’s gene editing technology to develop engineered hematopoietic stem cell-based therapies for the treatment of blood cancers, such as acute myeloid leukemia.
“Cancer patients deserve therapies with strong effects on cancer cells and minimal effects on all other cells,” said Tirtha Chakraborty, Ph.D., Vor’s VP and Head of Research. “Our new partnership with Metagenomi will help us achieve this goal by engineering hematopoietic stem cells using precise yet flexible gene editing – thereby ensuring that targeted therapies can live up to their name.”
The collaboration is non-exclusive and applies to pre-clinical research only. Further terms of the agreement are not being disclosed.
“This partnership unites two transformative technologies – our proprietary gene editing enzymes, and Vor’s platform for engineering hematopoietic stem cells such that they are inherently treatment-resistant,” said Brian C. Thomas, Metagenomi’s CEO and co-founder. “We are excited to be working together to bring both of these cutting-edge approaches into the clinic.”
About Vor Biopharma
Vor Biopharma aims to transform the lives of cancer patients by pioneering engineered hematopoietic stem cell (eHSC) therapies. By removing biologically redundant proteins from eHSCs, these cells become inherently invulnerable to complementary targeted therapies while tumor cells are left susceptible, thereby unleashing the potential of targeted therapies to benefit cancer patients in need.
Vor’s platform could be used to potentially change the treatment paradigm of both hematopoietic stem cell transplants and targeted therapies, such as antibody drug conjugates, bispecific antibodies and CAR-T cell treatments.
Vor is based in Cambridge, Mass. and has a broad intellectual property base, including in-licenses from Columbia University, where foundational work was conducted by inventor and Vor Scientific Board Chair Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD, DPhil.
Vor’s lead product candidate, VOR33, consists of engineered hematopoietic stem cells (eHSCs) that lack the protein CD33. Once these cells are transplanted into a cancer patient, we believe that CD33 will become a far more cancer-specific target, potentially avoiding toxicity to the normal blood and bone marrow associated with CD33-targeted therapies. Vor aims to improve the therapeutic window and effectiveness of CD33-targeted therapies, thereby potentially broadening the clinical benefit to patients suffering from acute myeloid leukemia.
Metagenomi is harnessing the vast information found in life on Earth to develop cures for genetic disease. Using proprietary data collected from around the world, Metagenomi has developed novel gene editing tools that enable next-generation gene and cell therapies.
Metagenomi is based out of Emeryville, California, and was founded by pioneers in the field of metagenomics, Jill Banfield and Brian C. Thomas. Metagenomi generates massive quantities of data from natural environments, producing complete genomes from organisms that are otherwise unknown. Metagenomi then unlocks the information captured in these genomes to develop game-changing in vivo and ex vivo therapeutics.