Galway, Ireland and San Diego, USA, 4 January 2023 – ONK Therapeutics, an innovative company dedicated to developing optimally engineered natural killer (NK) cell therapies to cure patients with cancer, is pleased to announced that it has been included in BioSpace’s NextGen “Class of 2023” list featuring the most promising new life sciences companies of 2023.
ONK is a successful and innovative biotech company developing a leading global position in the fast-growing NK cell therapy space, committed to growing its transatlantic team in Ireland and the USA. It has used its $21.5 million series A financing to make substantial progress in delivering against its ambition to establish a global leadership position within the off-the-shelf NK cell therapy area.
ONK’s optimally engineered NK cell therapy platform designed to improve the metabolic health, persistence and anti-tumor effect has been strengthened through a number of licensing agreements. These include world leading CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing and LNP delivery technologies from Intellia Therapeutics that will enable the company to take full advantage of its suite of proprietary edits, including the CISH knockout technology licensed globally from WEHI (Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research), Melbourne, Australia. The company has also continued to progress its manufacturing plan as it drives towards GMP manufacturing and clinical trial supply. Concurrently ONK is strategically building out its corporate structure and diligently expanding its transatlantic team.
BioSpace, the leading source for life sciences news and careers, has been recognizing the most exciting startups in biotech and pharma for the past nine years in its NextGen list. 25 companies were selected this year. Organizations across all therapeutic areas are considered.
BioSpace’s editorial team analyzed multiple components as determining factors: finance, collaborations, pipeline, growth potential and innovation. Points are awarded for each criteria and companies ranked accordingly. This year’s list includes top-scoring organizations that launched between September 2021 and September 2022 with a Series A funding.
The accolade of being one of just 25 companies in BioSpace’s NextGen “Class of 2023” list recognizes ONK Therapeutics series A financing and its growth and achievements during 2022, following its international expansion with the opening of its US subsidiary, ONK Therapeutics, Inc, in 2020. In the US, ONK is based at Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS @ San Diego, in the heart of the San Diego biotech cluster that is home to genomics, precision medicine, cell therapy and microbiome companies. In December 2022 ONK announced the appointment of Bruce McCreedy Ph.D. as Chief Scientific Officer (CSO), a member of the company’s Executive Leadership Team, based in the USA. It also expanded its European operations during the year with the opening of bespoke corporate offices in Galway, Ireland near its research labs.
CEO of ONK Therapeutics, Chris Nowers said, “We are delighted that our progress and innovative approach has been recognized by BioSpace and are thrilled to be included in the 2023 NextGen list. We have grown our experienced team by over 50% over the last year and have made key hires on the research, manufacturing, and corporate fronts. We feel having a transatlantic axis is very productive and we will continue to grow the company in both the USA and Ireland as we progress along our exciting journey to the clinic.”
The complete NextGen “Class of 2023” list can be viewed on BioSpace.
About ONK Therapeutics – www.onktherapeutics.com
ONK Therapeutics is an innovative cell therapy company dedicated to developing the next generation of optimally engineered off-the-shelf, natural killer (NK) cell therapies. With a growing pre-clinical pipeline targeting both hematological malignancies and solid tumors, ONK is advancing multiple cell therapy candidates towards the clinic, including its lead program, ONKT102, an optimized affinity CD38 CAR-NK product, intended for the treatment of patients with relapsed/ refractory multiple myeloma. Read about the pipeline here.
The company’s optimally engineered NK cell therapy platform utilizes a suite of proprietary gene edits and cell modification strategies to optimize NK cell metabolic health, persistence and anti-tumor effect of NK cells, while reducing the potential for their exhaustion in the tumor microenvironment. These include CISH knockout (KO); the expression of high affinity, membrane bound, TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand variants (TRAILv) targeting DR5 or DR4; and the deletion of inhibitory receptors, including extracellular proteins for example CD96, and Siglec-7. Read about the platform here.
ONK Therapeutics is headquartered in the med-tech hub of Galway, Ireland, with a wholly owned USA subsidiary, ONK Therapeutics, Inc. based at JLabs @ San Diego. Shareholders include Acorn Bioventures, Cormorant Asset Management, ALSHC (principally Seamus Mulligan), and Enterprise Ireland.
About BioSpace – www.biospace.com
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For ONK Therapeutics
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Marketing Director, BioSpace