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USPTO Grants ONK Therapeutics’ Foundational Patent for CISH Knockout in NK Cells for Use in Cancer Therapies

USPTO Grants ONK Therapeutics’ Foundational Patent for CISH Knockout in NK Cells for Use in Cancer Therapies


·     The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has granted ONK Therapeutics’ patent for CISH knockout (KO) in Natural Killer (NK) cells based on the earliest scientific discoveries  

·     The patent, under exclusive global license from WEHI, gives ONK key IP for CISH KO in human NK cells for their use in cancer therapies, irrespective of cell origin

The CISH IP adds to ONK’s broad and growing IP estate covering the optimization of persistence, metabolic profile and cytotoxic potential of its NK cell therapy platform

Galway, Ireland and San Diego, USA, 09 September 2021 - ONK Therapeutics Ltd, an innovative NK cell therapy company, today announced that the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has granted its licensed patent that covers CISH knockout (KO) in NK cells, irrespective of the source of the NK cells, including, for example, human cord blood-derived and human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived cells (Patent No. 11104735).

Earlier this year ONK entered into an exclusive global patent license agreement with Australia’s Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research (WEHI) providing it rights to CISH KO in the field of human NK cells for the treatment of cancer, with the right to sublicence.

“We are excited to have this unparalleled opportunity to explore the potential of CISH KO in human NK cells. We believe this is the foundational patent, based on the earliest scientific discoveries which cover CISH KO NK cells from any source, and we intend to evaluate this edit in both umbilical cord blood and iPSC-derived NK cells,” said ONK Therapeutics’ CEO Chris Nowers.

CISH KO has been shown to improve the persistence, metabolic profile, and cytotoxic potential of NK cells. While several other companies and academic centers are exploring the potential of a CISH KO on NK cells, the research team at WEHI, in 2015, was the first to show the critical role CIS, the protein encoded by CISH, plays in negatively regulating the function of NK cells.

Prof. Michael O’Dwyer, founder and CSO of ONK Therapeutics said, “Editing of NK cells to knock out CISH has the potential to improve the potency of the NK cell-based therapies and provide greater benefit to patients.

We are building an unrivaled and broad IP estate against multiple NK cell checkpoint receptors, including extracellular proteins CD96, TIGIT, Siglec-7 and PD-1 as part of our innovative strategy to engineer a highly differentiated NK cell therapy platform that has broad potential across both hematological malignancies and solid tumors.”

WEHI’s Head of Biotechnology and Commercialisation Dr Anne-Laure Puaux said, “Cell-based therapies have demonstrated their enormous potential as disease-modifying therapies in oncology.  By licensing our intellectual property to ONK Therapeutics we are supporting the opportunity to develop more potent cell-based therapies for the future benefit of cancer patients.”

In addition to this granted CISH KO US patent, ONK Therapeutics has filed a US continuation patent application. Parallel filings are also under review in the EU by the European Patent Office (EPO) as well as in China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, thus providing excellent coverage for the company’s commercial interests

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Last Updated: 09-Sep-2021