Umoja Biopharma Presents Data on its Synthetic Cytokine Receptor Platform at the International Society for Cell and Gene Therapy Annual Meeting 2022

RACR-induced cytotoxic innate lymphocytes permit the expansion and differentiation of iPSCs with fewer limitations, leading to a more cost-effective manufacturing process

SEATTLE, May 04, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Umoja Biopharma, Inc., an immuno-oncology company pioneering off-the-shelf, integrated therapeutics that reprogram immune cells in vivo for patients with solid and hematologic malignancies, announced today that it will have an oral presentation at the International Society for Cell and Gene Therapy (ISCT) Annual Meeting 2022, to be held May 4-7, 2022 in San Francisco, California.

On Friday, May 6th, Dave Vereide, Ph.D., Senior Scientist at Umoja Biopharma, will give an oral presentation titled “A synthetic cytokine receptor platform for producing cytotoxic innate lymphocytes as ‘off-the-shelf’ cancer therapeutics.” The presentation will highlight Umoja’s rapamycin-activated cytokine receptor (RACR) platform which seeks to address current challenges in the cellular therapy space. Current approaches for differentiating induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) into therapeutic immune cell types often requires expensive exogenous gamma-chain cytokines for expansion and survival, and often, the presence of feeder cells. The RACR platform permits the production of immune effector cells, termed RACR-induced cytotoxic innate lymphocytes (iCILs), in the absence of exogenous cytokines and feeder cells by genetically modifying iPSC-derived progenitor cells to express the RACR synthetic cytokine receptor. A synthetic small molecule ligand then binds RACR to drive the differentiation and expansion of the iCILs. RACR technology can be employed in both a manufacturing setting to generate iCILs and in vivo to enable the selective expansion and survival of iCILs.  

“iPSCs are an excellent source of renewable, modifiable, and scalable material for cell therapy manufacturing, yet several limitations exist with the current manufacturing processes for differentiating iPSCs into therapeutic cell types, including the need for exogenous growth factors and feeder cells.” said Andy Scharenberg, M.D., co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Umoja. “At Umoja we are excited about our RACR-iCIL iPSC platform and its capacity to generate immune effector cells in the absence of these limitations. Due to the selective growth advantage provided by our RACR platform, a highly pure iCIL population can be produced during manufacturing. We are evaluating iCILs in pre-clinical studies to assess their in vivo anti-tumor activity, and are optimistic about their potential for development as “off-the-shelf” cell therapies for diverse hematologic malignancies and solid tumors.”   

Presentation details:

Presentation Title: A synthetic cytokine receptor platform for producing cytotoxic innate lymphocytes as ‘off-the-shelf’ cancer therapeutics
Presenting Author: Dave Vereide, Ph.D., Senior Scientist at Umoja Biopharma
Abstract Number: 44

Oral Presentation Session: Gene Editing/Gene Therapies
Oral Presentation Date, Time: Friday May 6, 2022; 4:45-5:45 p.m. PT

Poster Presentation Session: Poster Networking Reception 2
Poster Presentation Date, Time: Thursday May 5, 2022; 5:45-7:15 p.m. PT

About Umoja Biopharma, Inc. 
Umoja Biopharma, Inc., is developing treatments for solid tumors and hematologic cancers that reprogram the patient’s immune system in vivo. Our technology platforms are designed to work synergistically as part of a therapeutic regimen that can be delivered to any patient, with any tumor, at any time. Based on pioneering work performed at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and Purdue University, Umoja’s approach is powered by novel cellular immunotherapy technologies including the VivoVec in vivo delivery platform, the RACR/CAR in vivo cell expansion/control platform, and the TumorTag targeting platform. Umoja believes its approach can broaden access to advanced immunotherapies to give more patients the hope of lasting remission. To learn more, visit http://umoja-biopharma.com/. 

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements 
This press release contains forward-looking statements about Umoja Biopharma, Inc. (the “Company,” “we,” “us,” or “our”). The Company has based these forward-looking statements largely on its current expectations, estimates, forecasts and projections about future events and financial trends that it believes may affect its financial condition, results of operations, business strategy and financial needs. In light of the significant uncertainties in these forward-looking statements, you should not rely upon forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause the actual results to vary materially, including, among others, the risks inherent in drug development such as those associated with the initiation, cost, timing, progress and results of the Company’s current and future research and development programs, preclinical and clinical trials, as well as the economic, market and social disruptions due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis. Except as required by law, the Company undertakes no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements for any reason. 

Media Contact:
Darren Opland, Ph.D.
LifeSci Communications
[email protected]

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