Raphaël Ognar on Adding New Options to the Oncologic Cell Therapy Arsenal


The cofounder and chief executive officer of NKILT Therapeutics discussed unique advantages of the CIR platform.

“Instead of using standard CAR technology, we are actually using a natural receptor binding approach, which we call CIR for chimeric ILT receptor, because it's related to a specific piece of our target, HLA-G, that is very unique and very much under studied. And that has a lot to provide, potentially, because we strongly believe it's a key component of not only tumor immunosuppressive effects, but also tumor microenvironment interaction.”

NKILT Therapeutics’ novel Chimeric ILT-Receptor (CIR) platform is focused on improving targeting of cancer cells in leukemias and solid tumors. The company has used the CIR platform to develop CIR T-cells and, more, recently, CIR natural killer (CIR-NK) cells. NKILT is planning for a first target indication of acute myeloid leukemia, followed by renal cell carcinoma, non-small cell lung cancer, colorectal cancer, and other HLA-G expressing cancers, although it has not yet named its lead assets.

Positive preclinical data on CIR-NK cells were presented by Raphaël Ognar, cofounder and chief executive officer, NKILT, at the World Oncology Cell Therapy Congress (WOCTC) held April 25-26 in Boston, Massachusetts. CGTLive spoke with Ognar to learn more about the CIR platform and how it works with HLA-G. He stressed his belief that the future of cell therapies in oncology lies in combination therapies and broadening available options in the treatment landscape so patients will be able to have more potential treatments for their specific types of cancers. NKILT is planning to start interacting with the FDA in early 2024.

Click here to read more coverage of WOCTC 2023.

Targeting of HLA-G positive tumors with cytotoxic immune cells engineered with a chimeric ILT-Receptor. Presented at: WOCTC; April 25-26; Boston, Massachusetts.
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