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Umoja Biopharma and IASO Biotherapeutics Announce Research Collaboration to Bring Off-the-Shelf Therapies to Patients with Hematological Malignancies

Umoja Biopharma and IASO Biotherapeutics Announce Research Collaboration to Bring Off-the-Shelf Therapies to Patients with Hematological Malignancies

Collaboration will bring together Umoja’s iCIL platform and IASO’s chimeric antigen receptors to create the next generation of broadly accessible, readily available cell therapies in indications that are significantly underserved by today’s standards of care.

SEATTLE, SAN JOSE, Calif., SHANGHAI and NANJING, China, Nov. 21, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Umoja Biopharma, Inc., an immuno-oncology company pioneering off-the-shelf, integrated therapeutics that reprogram immune cells to treat patients with solid and hematologic malignancies and IASO Biotherapeutics (“IASO Bio”), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company engaged in discovering, developing, and manufacturing innovative medicines, announced today that they have entered into a research agreement to evaluate Umoja’s iCIL platform with IASO’s best-in-class CARs. The collaboration will focus on bringing off-the-shelf therapies to patients with hematological malignancies, initially acute myeloid leukemia (AML), with a goal of increasing patient accessibility.

“We believe that developing off-the-shelf therapies using our iCIL platform and IASO’s CARs will pave the way to broader patient access to top-line therapies in hematological malignancies,” said Andy Scharenberg, M.D., co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Umoja. “As medicine and science have progressed, so have patient outcomes in cancer, but we still have a way to go. Collaborations like this between Umoja and IASO seek to push the next phase of cancer treatment forward.” 

Umoja’s iPSC-based allogeneic cell therapy platform uses its synthetic receptor enabled differentiation (ShRED) manufacturing process to direct differentiation and expansion of iCILs, a novel class of innate lymphocyte, with potent anti-tumor activity. ShRED generated-iCILs retain functionality in feeder-free culture after 100 days and, as ShRED does not require feeder-cells to induce effector cell expansion, these cells retain their proliferative capacity without the need for multiple complex raw materials.

“We are very pleased to enter a collaboration with Umoja,” said Wen (Maxwell) Wang, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of IASO Bio. “The benefit of our fully-human CAR constructs to treat patients with hematologic malignancies have been validated in clinical trials of our broad set of targets and indications. We are excited to develop next generation novel cell therapies by combining our CAR constructs with Umoja’s novel ShRED technologies with potentially lower cost.”

IASO’s strong capability in screening potentially best-in-class CARs utilizing its proprietary fully-human antibody discovery platform (IMARS), a high-throughput CAR screening platform, and executing clinical trials rapidly, as well as its fully in-house GMP facility for plasmid, virus vector, and CAR-T cell manufacturing with over 90% success rate aims to bring its innovative therapies to a broader population globally.

About Umoja’s iCILplatform: Induced Cytotoxic Innate Lymphocytes

Umoja’s iCIL platform leverages a novel cell manufacturing process to generate synthetic cancer fighting cells from induced pluripotent stem cells at massive scale. These cells, termed induced cytotoxic innate lymphocytes or iCILs, can be administered to patients to augment their endogenous anti-tumor immune function, and to work together with VivoVec-generated in vivo CAR T-cells. Similar to VivoVec-generated CAR T-cells, iCILs can be engineered to leverage our RACR/CAR™ and TumorTag™ platforms respectively to support cell survival and target tumors and their stromal cells, potentially reducing adverse events and prolonging remissions for patients. To learn more about Umoja’s platforms please visit https://www.umoja-biopharma.com/our-science/.

About IASO Biotherapeutics

IASO Bio is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery and development of novel cell therapies for oncology and autoimmune diseases. Leveraging its proprietary fully-human antibody discovery platform (IMARS), high-throughput CAR T drug screening platform, and proprietary manufacturing processes, IASO Bio is developing a rich clinical-stage pipeline of multiple autologous and allogeneic CAR-T and biologics product candidates. This includes a diversified portfolio of over 10 novel pipeline products, including IASO’s leading asset, Equecabtagene Autoleucel (CT103A), a fully human BCMA chimeric antigen receptor autologous T cell injection.  Equecabtagene Autoleucel received New Drug Application (NDA) acceptance from China’s National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) for the treatment of relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma (r/r MM). It also received Breakthrough Therapy Designation by the NMPA in February 2021 and Orphan Drug Designation (ODD) by the U.S. FDA in February 2022. In addition to multiple myeloma, NMPA has accepted its Investigational New Drug (IND) application for the new extended indication of Neuromyelitis Optica Spectrum Disorder (NMOSD). Additionally, the Company’s in-house developed fully-human CD19/CD22 dual-targeted CAR-T cell therapy has received two IND clearances for the treatment of relapsed/refractory B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (r/r B-NHL) and relapsed/refractory acute B-lymphoblastic leukemia (r/r B-ALL).  It is currently in Phase I clinical trial for r/r B-NHL. It was also granted ODD by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in October 2021. Leveraging its strong management team, innovative product pipeline, integrated manufactural and clinical capabilities, IASO aims to deliver transformative, curable and affordable therapies that fulfil unmet medical needs to the patients in China as well as around the world. For more information, please visit www.iasobio.com or www.linkedin.com/company/iasobiotherapeutics.

About Umoja Biopharma

Umoja Biopharma, Inc. is an early clinical-stage company advancing an entirely new approach to immunotherapy. Umoja Biopharma, Inc. is a transformative multi-platform immuno-oncology company founded with the goal of creating curative treatments for solid and hematological malignancies. Founded based on pioneering work performed at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and Purdue University, Umoja’s novel approach is powered by integrated cellular immunotherapy technologies including the VivoVec off-the-shelf in vivo delivery platform, iCIL off-the-shelf cell therapy platform, the RACR/CAR in vivo cell expansion/control platform, and the TumorTag targeting platform. Designed from the ground up to work together, these platforms are being developed to create and harness a powerful immune response in the body to directly, safely, and controllably attack cancer. Umoja believes that its approach can provide broader access to the most advanced immunotherapies and enable more patients to live better, fuller lives. To learn more, visit http://umoja-biopharma.com/.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements 
This press release contains forward-looking statements about Umoja Biopharma, Inc. (the “Company,” “we,” “us,” or “our”). The Company has based these forward-looking statements largely on its current expectations, estimates, forecasts and projections about future events and financial trends that it believes may affect its financial condition, results of operations, business strategy and financial needs. In light of the significant uncertainties in these forward-looking statements, you should not rely upon forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause the actual results to vary materially, including, among others, the risks inherent in drug development such as those associated with the initiation, cost, timing, progress and results of the Company’s current and future research and development programs, preclinical and clinical trials, as well as the economic, market and social disruptions due to the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis. Except as required by law, the Company undertakes no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements for any reason. 

Umoja media Contact:
Darren Opland, Ph.D.
LifeSci Communications 
darren@lifescicomms.com

IASO Bio media Contact:
Alan Fu, J.D., Ph.D.,
Chief Financial Officer
ir@iasobio.com

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