Prokarium and Ginkgo Bioworks Announce Partnership to Discover Multiple Targets for RNA Therapeutics and Immuno-oncology
Prokarium, a biopharmaceutical company pioneering the oncology field of microbial immunotherapy, and Ginkgo Bioworks, which is building the leading platform for cell programming and biosecurity, has today announced a partnership to develop a bactofection platform to deliver RNA-based therapeutics.
Most gene therapies today leverage viral delivery systems. While significant advances have been made to optimize these systems, toxicity and targeting issues in connection with these delivery vehicles may limit their broader utility. Bactofection, the process of transferring genetic material into a mammalian cell via a bacterium, is an alternative gene delivery system that could deliver therapeutic agents to a patient.
In bactofection, the naturally occurring tumor-colonizing characteristics of bacterial species, such as Salmonella, can be modified via genetic manipulation and harnessed to be a targeted delivery vehicle for various therapeutic payloads. In collaboration with Prokarium, Ginkgo will aim to engineer a Salmonella-based bactofection platform for the delivery of RNA payloads to treat cancer patients, building on existing capabilities in RNA therapeutics, viral-based gene therapy and bacterial therapeutics.
“By leveraging Ginkgo’s microbial and mammalian foundry capabilities, we are building a highly versatile and innovative bactofection platform to support delivery of novel modalities from the ground up,” said Kristen Albright, CEO at Prokarium. “Through this partnership, we are working to unlock a new generation of immuno-oncology therapeutics.”
“Advancements in immunotherapy such as checkpoint inhibitors and CAR-T have transformed the treatment of certain cancers, with tremendous progress across novel modalities continuing to build,” said Ena Cratsenburg, Chief Business Officer at Ginkgo Bioworks. “With Prokarium, Ginkgo will work to develop a bactofection platform that leverages the convergence of these advancements in immuno-oncology, gene therapy, RNA therapeutics and bacterial therapeutics. Ginkgo is excited to bolster its work with leading companies like Prokarium, which can utilize Ginkgo’s services to innovate and expand what is possible with novel therapeutics.”
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