Sorrento Therapeutics and Conkwest will work together to accelerate the development of CAR-TNK™ immunotherapies for the treatment of hematological malignancies and solid tumors. Both companies will jointly own and share development costs and revenues from any developed CAR-TNK products.

As part of the deal, Sorrento will make a $9 million equity investment in Conkwest and provide $2 million in research credit payments towards the development of CAR-TNK cell lines.

The CAR-TNK technology platform combines Conkwest's Neukoplast cell line with Sorrento's G-MAB® fully human antibody technology and CAR designs to further enhance the potency and targeting of Neukoplast.

The firms are hopeful that their CAR-TNK platform will bypass the side effects linked to CAR-T therapies as well as get around scalability, quality control, and consistency issues. According to the companies, CAR-TNK cells can be generated and produced in large quantities, thereby obviating the need for expensive, decentralized “biologistics”—a critical drawback of current CAR-T and dendritic cell therapies.

“We are extremely pleased with this strategic collaboration with Conkwest,” Henry Ji, president and CEO of Sorrento, said in a statement. “With Sorrento's expertise in antibody technology and diverse portfolio of fully human antibodies obtained from the G-MAB library, we believe we will be able to generate an army of stable CAR-TNK cell-lines, including but not limited to CD19-CAR-TNK, PDL1-CAR-TNK, PSMA-CAR-TNK, and CD123-CAR-TNK.”

Earlier this week, Sorrento inked a cancer immunotherapy deal with Soon-Shiong’s NantWorks. The two companies will jointly develop immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer and auto-immune diseases.

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