Leaps by Bayer and Khloris Join Forces to Develop Anti-Cancer Vaccines

Seed investment of Leaps by Bayer paves an exclusive leadership position for next generation oncology business.

Originally Published by Bayer U.S.

Leaps by Bayer, the investment arm of the global life sciences company Bayer, and Khloris Biosciences, a biotechnology company, announced that they have joined forces to develop novel, first-in-class anti-cancer vaccines based on human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). This technology has the potential to address one of today’s biggest issues in human health: to prevent and cure cancer.

Although initiated a century ago, the field of cancer vaccines is in an early stage of development. Cancer vaccines could be either prophylactic – intending to prevent cancer from developing in healthy people, or therapeutic – intending to treat an existing cancer by strengthening the body’s natural immune response against it.

Khloris Biosciences: Pioneering Cancer Vaccination

A study* in mice from Stanford University School of Medicine suggests iPSCs can train the immune system to protect against the development of different types of cancer. Alternatively, as an adjuvant therapy following surgery or radiation, iPSC vaccination could also reactivate the immune system in cancer patients to prevent a relapse and/or metastasis.

Human iPSCs have potential as anti-cancer vaccines because they share the same characteristics of cancer cells, such as expression of tumor antigens and the ability to self-renew. Injecting iPSCs that genetically match the recipient, but that are unable to replicate, can safely expose the immune system to a variety of cancer-specific targets.

Curing and preventing cancer is one of the main focus areas of Leaps by Bayer, since it still represents one of today’s biggest health concerns with limited curative or preventative therapies available. Kemal Malik, Bayer board member for Innovation, said: “We are very impressed with Khloris’s approach. It represents a unique opportunity in the development of novel vaccines that ultimately would enable our immune system to successfully fight cancer before it gets out of control – the ultimate breakthrough in cancer management.”

“Bayer’s development expertise, commercial reach and worldwide network of R&D sites, combined with our scientific knowledge and technology, will increase the chances to bring this potential breakthrough option to patients in need,” commented Prof. Joseph C. Wu, a co-founder of Khloris.

“This alliance is in line with our passion for developing truly innovative and disruptive cancer therapies that have a major and lasting impact on disease. Leaps by Bayer offered a unique investment concept that allows big ideas to flourish,” stated Dr. Lynne A. Bui, co-founder and CEO of Khloris.

The Board of Directors will be composed of two representatives from Khloris – Dr. Lynne A. Bui and Prof. Joseph C. Wu – and two representatives from Leaps by Bayer – Dr. Juergen Eckhardt and Dr. Lucio Iannone.

The terms of the investment were not disclosed.

Khloris is the 7th investment of Leaps by Bayer, a unit of Bayer investing into solutions to some of today’s biggest problems. Previous Leaps investments into potentially breakthrough technologies include Casebia Therapeutics (CRISPR/Cas technology to cure severe genetic disorders), BlueRock Therapeutics (iPSC technology to cure cardiovascular and CNS diseases) and Joyn Bio (probiotics for plants to enable for chemical fertilizer-free farming).

*Autologous iPSC-Based Vaccines Elicit Anti-tumor Responses In Vivo. Kooreman, N. et al., Cell Stem Cell. 2018;22(4):501-513.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29456158

Latest News

girls high school sports

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Officially Bans Transgender Students From School Sports

Holding true to threats he has made in the past, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has officially signed into Texas state law a rule that would restrict transgender students from participating in high school sports consistent with their gender identity. ESPN’s Katie Barnes reported that following Abbott’s action, Texas has become…

Prince

Music Icon Prince Could Soon Be Honored With Posthumous Congressional Gold Medal

He changed music history and was the soundtrack for countless people’s lives, and now music legend Prince could soon be awarded a posthumous Congressional Gold Medal by the U.S. government. Mark Kennedy of the Associated Press has reported that “Minnesota’s Congressional delegation on Monday, Oct. 25, introduced a resolution to…

AAPI Hate

New FBI Report Estimates Anti-Asian Hate in the United States Increased by 73% in 2020

We’ve known anti-Asian sentiment increased dramatically in the U.S. since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, but new government data quantifies just how shockingly severe that jump has been. Based on recently released FBI data, Sakshi Venkatraman of NBC News reported that “anti-Asian hate crimes increased more than 73% in…

map of Iowa

Black Iowa Democratic Party Chair Ross Wilburn Threatened With Lynching After Penning Anti-Trump Op-Ed

An Iowa Democrat has been threatened with violence simply for writing an opinion piece critical of the former president. Brianne Pfannenstiel of the Des Moines Register has reported that “Iowa Democratic Party Chair Ross Wilburn received multiple threats, including one of lynching, after he penned an opinion piece critical of…

Facebook logo

Facebook Forced To Pay a Record $14-Million Settlement for Discriminating Against US Workers

October continues to be a month Facebook likely wishes it could forget. First came Frances Haugen, the whistleblower who explained in chilling detail how the site and its algorithms are designed to profit off what she called “the spread and amplification of hate, misinformation and political unrest.” Then there was…