BlueRock Therapeutics, a clinical-stage cell therapy company, and bit.bio, a synbio firm, signed a collaboration and option agreement for the discovery and manufacture of iPSC-derived regulatory T cells (Tregs) for use in creating therapeutics.
“Tregs play a crucial role in maintaining balance in the body’s immune system and controlling excessive immune reactions,” said Stefan Irion, MD, CSO of BlueRock Therapeutics. “iPSC-derived Treg-based therapies have the potential to treat a broad range of autoimmune and inflammatory disorders, and we look forward to collaborating with the bit.bio team to explore how their opti-ox cell programming technology can accelerate our efforts to discover and manufacture Tregs from iPSCs.”
“We are delighted to partner with the team at BlueRock, who are world-leaders in iPSC-derived cell therapies, and together address the significant unmet needs of these patients,” added Mark Kotter, MD, PhD, CEO of bit.bio. “Today’s announcement marks an important milestone for bit.bio. As well as providing significant financial contributions, our collaboration is a testament to the unique capabilities of bit.bio’s team.”
bit.bio will use its machine learning-powered discovery platform to identify transcription factor (TF) combinations for reprogramming iPSCs into Tregs. The agreement also includes options for BlueRock to license bit.bio’s opti-ox precision cell programming technology to control the expression of TF combinations within Treg cell therapies.
Opti-ox uses a dual genomic safe harbor approach to cell programming, and bit.bio uses opti-ox to drive the rapid TF-mediated conversion of iPSCs into highly defined cell types in a single step, added Kotter, noting that this can be achieved within days and at industrial scale, while maintaining purity and consistency.
BlueRock, a wholly owned, independently operated subsidiary of Bayer, will be responsible for the global development and commercialization of therapeutic candidates emerging from the collaboration. bit.bio will receive an upfront payment and is eligible to receive milestone payments and royalties on worldwide sales of all therapies resulting from the collaboration.