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Zelluna Immunotherapy collaborates with Karolinska Institutet and enters into the NextGenNK Competence Center for allogeneic TCR based Natural Killer cell (TCR-NK) therapy development

Oslo, Norway, March 12, 2020 - Zelluna Immunotherapy, a biopharma company pioneering the use of T cell receptor (TCR) guided Natural Killer (NK) cell therapy products for the treatment of multiple solid cancers, and the world renowned Karolinska Institutet (KI) in Stockholm, Sweden, today announce a collaboration to develop next generation TCR-NK products for the treatment of patients with solid cancers. In addition, Zelluna is entered as a collaborative partner in the new Competence Center for Next-Generation NK Cell-based Cancer Immunotherapy (“NextGenNK”) being established at the KI.

The collaboration will support a multi-year research program with Dr. Evren Alici, Head of the Gene & Cell Therapy group at KI. The program aims to develop next generation TCR guided NK cells. The collaboration will make use of Zelluna’s proprietary TCR-NK technology and is intended to accelerate the development of Zelluna’s TCR-NK platform and off-the-shelf products. Zelluna will have exclusive rights to develop and commercialize TCR-NK products resulting from the collaboration through a commercial license with KI.   

The NextGenNK Competence Center provides an arena where universities and companies will conduct world-class research and innovation in the field of NK based cancer therapy. For Zelluna this provides access to a broad network of competence, infrastructure and potential collaborating partners all with the common vision of developing novel NK cell treatments for cancer patients. The NextGenNK is funded by academic and industrial partners and will receive significant funding from Vinnova, Sweden’s Innovation Agency.

“We are excited to enter into a collaboration with Zelluna Immunotherapy. Prospects of expressing TCRs on NK cells is yet another exciting possibility of enhancing their target cell specificity,” says Hans-Gustaf Ljunggren, director of the Competence Center. 

“Combining the world-class expertise of Dr. Evren Alici’s research group and Karolinska Institutet, with Zelluna’s TCR and translational experience, will further strengthen Zelluna’s unique position to develop next generation TCR guided NK cells that will offer a unique off-the-shelf treatment option for solid-cancer patients,” said Namir Hassan, CEO, Zelluna Immunotherapy. “Entering into the NexGenNK consortium is an additionally important move for Zelluna, which will provide access to a valuable network of organizations with a common goal of utilizing the power of NK cells. These partnerships underscore our ambition to collaborate with leading institutions to rapidly develop and advance novel TCR-NK therapies into the clinic.” 

About Zelluna Immunotherapy

Zelluna Immunotherapy is a company developing transformative T cell receptor (TCR) based cellular immunotherapies for the treatment of solid cancers. The company is developing a portfolio of tumor specific TCRs to guide cell effector cells with the aim to induce cancer responses that are safe, efficient and durable. For more information, please visit

About Karolinska Institutet

Karolinska Institutet is one of the world’s leading medical universities. Its vision is to significantly contribute to the improvement of human health. Karolinska Institutet accounts for the single largest share of all academic medical research conducted in Sweden and offers the country’s broadest range of education in medicine and health sciences. The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet selects the Nobel laureates in Physiology or Medicine.

About NexGen Consortium 

NextGenNK is a Competence Center for the development of next generation NK cell-based cancer immunotherapies. The Center is based at Karolinska Institutet (KI), in close proximity to the Karolinska University Hospital. The Center was inaugurated in 2020 and is funded by Vinnova, KI, and Industrial partners. The Center Director is Hans-Gustaf Ljunggren and Evren Alici and Karl-Johan Malmberg serve as co-directors.

Within the Center, Swedish and International SME/industries and Karolinska University Hospital as a representative of the public sector work together with KI scientists with a long-term vision to develop novel, safe, affordable, and curative cancer treatments leading to a better quality of life. For more information, visit

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  • Company:
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Last Updated: 12-Mar-2020