Proof of Concept study to establish safety and recommended dose of Affimed’s innate cell engager (ICE®) AFM24 in combination with NKMax America’s Natural Killer (NK) cells in solid tumors
Pre-clinical data substantiates synergy between Affimed’s ICE® molecules and both NKMax America’s autologous and cryopreserved allogeneic NK cell therapy products
Heidelberg, Germany, and Santa Ana, California, October 20, 2020 – Affimed N.V. (NASDAQ: AFMD) and NKMax America Inc., both clinical stage biotech companies focused on harnessing the power of the body’s innate immune system, announced today that they entered into a clinical collaboration agreement to investigate the combination of AFM24, a CD16A/EGFR-targeted ICE®, with the autologous NK cell product SNK01. Pursuant to the collaboration, the companies plan to explore the combination in a first-in-human proof-of-concept (POC) trial in patients with EGFR-expressing tumors. The agreement follows a previous collaboration between the two companies in the preclinical setting to better understand the combined activity of their respective platforms. The results of the preclinical collaboration have shown substantive synergy between Affimed’s ICE® molecules and NKMax America’s autologous and cryopreserved allogeneic natural killer cell products.
Under the agreement, the companies will contribute their respective product candidates and resources towards submitting an Investigational New Drug (IND) application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and a subsequent clinical trial. The clinical trial will combine NKMax America’s SNK01 (enhanced natural killer cells) with AFM24 in the autologous setting with the option to expand the clinical trial to the allogeneic setting. The cost of the clinical study will be shared by Affimed and NKMax America. The agreement also provides for the opportunity to pursue further clinical study combinations with additional product candidates from both parties.
NKMax America has developed a proprietary NK cell expansion and activation technology platform which allows it to produce unprecedented commercial amounts of autologous and allogeneic NK cells from numerous donors that have near total expression of activating receptors like CD16A, NKG2D, NKp30 and NKp46. In addition, its unique technology increases the cytotoxicity of the expanded NK cells by nearly 8000 percent. In addition, the SNK01 product does not require lymphodepletion or cytokine support.
Using its ROCK® (Redirected Optimized Cell Killing) platform, Affimed has developed a novel pipeline of ICE® products. AFM24, a tetravalent, bispecific epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)- and CD16A-binding ICE®, is unique due to its activation of innate immunity to kill solid tumors, inducing both antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) and antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis (ADCP), whereas other EGFR-directed therapies rely heavily on signal transduction inhibition. A first-in-human Phase 1/2a open-label, non-randomized, multi-center, multiple ascending dose escalation/expansion study is underway evaluating AFM24 as monotherapy in patients with advanced solid EGFR-expressing malignancies whose disease has progressed after treatment with previous anticancer therapies.
“We believe combining ICE® molecules generated from our ROCK® platform with adoptive NK cell transfer can improve patient outcomes by ensuring patients have active and viable innate cells to be directed to the tumor and induce cytotoxic killing. In addition,