Jacobio Announces Strategic Investment in Hebecell to Further Develop iPSC-NK Cell Therapy

Aug 31, 2021

“With the partnership with Hebecell in place, we plan to add the allogeneic cell therapy into our pipelines in a move to explore the clinical value of a combination therapy with our existing products,” said Dr. Wang Yinxiang, Chairman and CEO of Jacobio.

BEIJING、Shanghai and BOSTON - Aug 31 2021 / PR Newswire/ -- Jacobio Pharmaceuticals (“Jacobio”, 1167.HK) announced a strategic investment in the US-based biotech company Hebecell on August 31. Jacobio will collaborate with Hebecell to develop the next-generation natural killer cell therapy based on induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC-NK). Based on the terms of the partnership, the two companies will jointly build cell manufacturing facilities in Jacobio’s Beijing headquarters in the future.

Once the deal is completed, Jacobio chairman and CEO Dr. Yinxiang Wang will be appointed as Chairman of Hebecell.

"Cell therapy is at the forefront of cancer therapy. We have long focused on revolutionary and innovative therapies,” said Dr. Wang. “We have strong ability and know-how on drug R&D of small molecule and antibody, with the partnership with Hebecell in place, we plan to add the allogeneic cell therapy into our pipelines in a move to explore the clinical value of a combination therapy with our existing products."

As part of the therapy’s core advantages, iPSC-NK is based on natural killer (“NK”) cells that can be produced indefinitely from induced pluripotent stem (“iPSC”) cells, eliminating the need to separate the cells from the patient’s blood. As a result, it supports standardized production and has the potential to become an off-the-shelf product. In addition, the fact that there is no need to wait for preparation helps enhance the solution’s commercial prospects and potential for mass production.

The current CAR-T cell therapy requires the isolation of lymphocytes from the patient's own blood, and then the separated cells must be injected back to the patient after a complex preparation process in vitro. Consequently, it is hard to achieve standardized production due to limited cell resources, time-consuming preparation, and high production costs.

Founded in Boston in 2016, Hebecell is primarily engaged in developing universal, cost-effective and off-the-shelf NK cell therapeutics based on its proprietary 3D-induced pluripotent stem cell (3D-iPSC) platform, which will be potentially available to all patients worldwide for the treatment of cancer, viral infectious and autoimmune diseases.

Hebecell’s proprietary technology uses its unique feeder-free 3D-PSC spheroid platform to produce all-purpose NK cells, which is more efficient than the traditional 2D method. Hebecell has established an efficient, scalable and reproducible 3D-iPSC platform, which supports the massive production of iPSC-NK cells for cancer and other diseases. This platform technology will alter the NK cell therapy field by delivering cost effective allogeneic therapies worldwide. Moreover, Hebecell is also exploring the application of its 3D-iPSC platform in the treatment of other diseases, including macular degeneration, Parkinson's, viral infectious and autoimmune diseases.

Hebecell’s founder, Dr. Shi-Jiang (John) Lu, added, “Our unique 3D-iPSC augmentation platform represents the next-generation of iPSC-NK cell therapy. The establishment of a master iPSC-CAR cell bank targeting multiple specific antigens will provide inexhaustible cell sources for the manufacture of truly off-the-shelf CAR-NK cells. We believe that this collaborative partnership building on the unique complementary strengths and resources between Hebecell and Jacobio will rapidly advance our unique off-the-shelf iPSC-NK products into clinics, realize the clinical application and commercial value of iPSC-NK therapy, and address the health challenges caused by tumors and other diseases .”

About Hebecell

Hebecell was founded in 2016 by industry leading inventors in developing the manufacturing platform of hematopoietic cells from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). Their first-in-class proprietary 3D manufacturing platform for human iPSC-NK cells is feeder-free, designed specifically for single-use-bioreactor at industrial scale. Hebecell’s platform will accelerate the application of iPSC as a viable source of immune cells in the next generation of immune cell therapies for immune-oncology, autoimmune and infectious diseases.

About Jacobio

Jacobio(1167.HK) is committed to providing more products and solutions to people's health. Our mission is to provide compelling innovations for creating a pipeline of life-changing medicines. Our vision is to become a global leader recognized for our impact in drug R&D together with our partners. The company's R&D centers are located in Beijing, Shanghai and MA, with a platform and expertise in developing allosteric inhibitors against protein tyrosine phosphatase, KRAS and transcriptional factors.