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.

Latest News

5 Biggest News Stories of the Week: May 19

As the saying goes, the news never stops — but there’s a lot of it out there, and all of it doesn’t always pertain to our readers. In this weekly news roundup, we’ll cover the top news stories that matter most to our diversity focused audience. 1. Emergency Services Dispatcher…

5 Biggest News Stories of the Week: May 12

As the saying goes, the news never stops — but there’s a lot of it out there, and all of it doesn’t always pertain to our readers. In this weekly news roundup, we’ll cover the top news stories that matter most to our diversity focused audience. 1. Coverage From DiversityInc’s…

Questlove plays a DJ set at DiversityInc's 2022 Top 50 event.

Photo Gallery: 2022 Top 50 Event

Accenture earns No. 1 spot on the Top 50 List, Hilton joins Hall of Fame. Expert panels and presentations cover the event’s theme of “ESG: Climate and Culture at Risk”. State Street execs share how they ranked for the first time. Cutting edge research from the Wharton School is presented…

Dr. Sally Saba

DiversityInc 2022 Top 50 Event: A New Landscape = New Opportunity: Shaping Corporate Standards of Excellence for ID&E Management

The role of an inclusion, diversity and equity practitioner has completely evolved, and all eyes are on the corporate community as it navigates its approach. Dr. Sally Saba, Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer at Medtronic, spoke about working together to shape the next generation’s standards during her Top50Talk “A New…