BlueRock Therapeutics LP, a clinical stage cell therapy company and wholly owned, independently operated subsidiary of Bayer AG, and bit.bio, the company coding human cells for novel cures, have announced a collaboration and option agreement for the discovery and manufacture of iPSC (induced pluripotent stem cell)-derived regulatory T cells (Tregs) for use in creating therapeutics.
“Tregs play a crucial role in maintaining balance in the body’s immune system and controlling excessive immune reactions,” said Stefan Irion, MD, Chief Scientific Officer of BlueRock Therapeutics. “iPSC-derived Treg based therapies have the potential to treat a broad range of autoimmune and inflammatory disorders, and we look forward to collaborating with the bit.bio team to explore how their opti-ox cell programming technology can accelerate our efforts to discover and manufacture Tregs from iPSCs.”
“We are delighted to partner with the team at BlueRock, who are world-leaders in iPSC-derived cell therapies, and together address the significant unmet needs of these patients,” said Mark Kotter, MD PhD, CEO of bit.bio. “Today’s announcement marks an important milestone for bit.bio. As well as providing significant financial contributions, our collaboration is a testament to the unique capabilities of bit.bio’s team.”
Under the terms of the agreement, bit.bio will use its machine learning powered discovery platform to identify transcription factor (TF) combinations for reprogramming iPSCs into Tregs. The agreement also includes options for BlueRock to license bit.bio’s opti-ox precision cell programming technology to control the expression of TF combinations within Treg cell therapies. opti-ox uses a dual genomic safe harbour approach to cell programming, and bit.bio uses opti-ox to drive the rapid TF-mediated conversion of iPSCs into highly defined cell types in a single step. This can be achieved within days and at industrial scale, while maintaining exceptional purity and unparalleled consistency.
BlueRock will be responsible for the global development and commercialization of therapeutic candidates emerging from the collaboration. bit.bio receives an upfront payment and is eligible to receive milestone payments and royalties on worldwide sales of all therapies resulting from the collaboration.