Natural killer cells blaze into immuno-oncology
On January 11, Innate Pharma in Marseilles, France, announced a research collaboration and licensing deal with Sanofi, based in Paris, worth up to €400 ($451) million in milestone payments and royalties. The goal is to develop bispecific antibodies that engage natural killer (NK) cells with tumor targets. It’s the latest sign of a surging interest in NK cell–based cancer immuno-therapies, which last July saw NK cell company Conkwest (now NantKwest) in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California, haul in $260 million in its initial public offering (IPO). A clutch of companies and institutions pushing for the next big thing in oncology is moving forward with NK cell–based immunotherapy.