Caribou Biosciences, Inc., a leading clinical-stage CRISPR genome-editing biopharmaceutical company, announced today that it has expanded its scientific advisory board (SAB) with the appointment of two new members: Katy Rezvani, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; and Christopher Sturgeon, Ph.D., associate professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
“As leaders in the study of natural killer (NK) cell biology, the development of NK cell therapies for the treatment of cancer, and the differentiation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), Drs. Rezvani and Sturgeon will bring experience and insights that will be invaluable to Caribou as we develop genome-edited NK cell therapies derived from iPSCs using our proprietary next-generation chRDNA platform,” said Steven Kanner, Ph.D., Caribou’s chief scientific officer. “We are excited to welcome these renowned experts to our SAB and work with them as we advance our pipeline of potentially best-in-class genome-edited allogeneic CAR-T and CAR-NK cell therapies for cancer patient treatment.”
“The opportunity to carry out multiple high specificity genome edits with Caribou’s chRDNA platform in iPSCs followed by their differentiation into NK cells holds the promise of safer and more effective allogeneic cell therapies with broad therapeutic potential,” said Dr. Sturgeon. “I look forward to working with the Caribou team to help translate known iPSC and NK cell biology into effective therapies and potentially implement this therapeutic approach more widely for patients with solid tumors and metastases.”
Dr. Rezvani is the Sally Cooper Murray Chair in Cancer Research, chief of the Section for Cellular Therapy, director of Translational Research, and director of the GMP Facility at MD Anderson. She also serves as executive director of MD Anderson’s Adoptive Cell Therapy Platform. Her laboratory focuses on the role of NK cells in mediating immunity against hematologic and solid tumors in order to understand mechanisms of tumor-induced NK cell dysfunction and to develop strategies to genetically engineer NK cells to enhance their in vivo anti-tumor activity and persistence. Findings from Dr. Rezvani’s lab have led to the funding of several investigator-initiated clinical trials of NK cell immunotherapies in patients with hematologic malignancies and solid tumors, as well as the first-in-human clinical trial of off-the-shelf CAR-transduced cord blood-derived NK cells in patients with relapsed/refractory lymphoid malignancies. Dr. Rezvani completed her medical training at University College London, followed by fellowships from the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Pathologists of the United Kingdom, a Ph.D. in Immunology from Imperial College London, and postdoctoral studies at the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Sturgeon is an associate professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. His studies focus on characterizing the signal pathways that control human pluripotent stem cell differentiation towards hematopoietic stem/progenitors and how this impacts NK cell development and function. Prior to joining Mount Sinai, Dr. Sturgeon was a member of the Washington University School of Medicine Hematology Division. He received a Ph.D. in Biochemistry on cell cycle regulation at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Sturgeon completed postdoctoral studies at the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Toronto where he studied pluripotent stem cell-derived hematopoiesis.
Dr. Rezvani receives compensation as a member of Caribou’s SAB (as do the other SAB members), and this financial relationship has been disclosed to MD Anderson’s Conflict of Interest Committee in accordance with institutional policy.
About Caribou’s Novel Next-Generation CRISPR Platform
CRISPR genome editing uses easily designed, modular biological tools to make DNA changes in living cells. There are two basic components of Type II CRISPR systems: the nuclease protein that cuts DNA and the RNA molecule(s) that guide the nuclease to generate a site-specific, double-stranded break, leading to editing at the targeted genomic site. CRISPR systems occasionally edit unintended genomic sites, known as off-target editing, which may lead to harmful effects on cellular function. In response to this challenge, Caribou has developed chRDNAs (pronounced “chardonnays”), RNA-DNA hybrid guides that direct substantially more precise genome editing, including multiplex editing and gene insertion, than all-RNA guides. Caribou is deploying the power of chRDNAs to develop CRISPR-edited therapies by guiding cellular editing with the highest level of fidelity.
About Caribou Biosciences, Inc.
Caribou is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to transforming the lives of patients with devastating diseases by applying the company’s proprietary chRDNA technology toward the development of next-generation, genome-edited cell therapies with best-in-class potential. The company is developing a pipeline of genome-edited, off-the-shelf CAR-T and CAR-NK cell therapies for the treatment of both hematologic malignancies and solid tumors for clinically validated targets as well as new targets.
For more information about Caribou, visit www.cariboubio.com and follow the company @CaribouBio.
“Caribou Biosciences” and the Caribou logo are registered trademarks of Caribou Biosciences, Inc.