Pre-clinical program focused on generating Antigen Presenting Cell (APC) therapies for oncology indications.
Oncology collaboration with Roche on B cell antigen presentation.
Pre-clinical program engineering red blood cells and other immune cells as a tolerizing agent for therapeutic potential across multiple indications.
Antigen presenting cells (APCs) are the gatekeepers to immunity, determining whether a response is required to an outside threat. When the body does respond to a threat, the types of effector (defensive) cells deployed in that response are determined by APCs.
APCs sift through antigenic material (proteins from a virus or tumor) and present it to adaptive immune cells in a context that elicits either an inflammatory response or a tolerogenic one. The compartmentalization of this antigenic material is crucial in determining the types of effector cells that are deployed to combat the noxious agent.
In some cases, antigens acquired from the extracellular space enter APCs through endosomes and result in CD4 T cell responses that support the production of antibodies by B cells. In contrast, cytosolic antigens are presented through MHC-I to CD8 T cells which can kill diseased cells that contain the target antigen.
By enabling cytosolic delivery of antigens, SQZ allows one to engineer APCs that generate specific killer T cell responses programmed to seek out and destroy tumors, essentially training immune cells to attack the tumor's mutation.
New research and clinical trials are demonstrating that with a push in the right direction, killer T cells (a.k.a. CD8 T cells) are capable of recognizing cancer cells as foreign and killing them. To train the immune system to recognize cancer cells as foreign, SQZ starts with tumor-specific antigens that are delivered into the cytosol of APCs along with an inflammatory stimulus. In a clinical setting, these APCs will be reintroduced to the patient to prime and activate endogenous killer T cells that will infiltrate tumors and kill them.
Standard cancer vaccines rely on uptake of antigenic material via endocytosis into APCs and subsequent endosomal processing and presentation. This can be an inefficient process that has shown limited clinical efficacy.
The SQZ APC approach enables one to deliver the full range of cancer-specific antigens to the cytosol of the APC which, in turn, generates a robust polyclonal T cell response. This therapeutic concept has the potential to drive powerful, patient-specific, immune responses in a variety of indications.
SQZing enables more effective protein delivery into the cytosol to enable MHC-I presentation, resulting in robust CD8 T cell response
SQZ's unique cell engineering capabilities allow one to use a range of cell types as APCs
SQZ's robust design and powerful delivery performance allows a product to be generated within hours
SQZ is currently engaged with pharmaceutical companies, other biotech companies, and top academic leaders focusing on developing new therapies and new approaches to pharmaceutical R&D that are uniquely enabled by the SQZ platform.
“SQZ’s technology has the potential to significantly improve how we engineer a patient’s own cells to fight cancer. We’re also impressed with their capable team, which includes highly regarded academic and business leaders.”
Michael P Crowley PhD
Global Head of Innovation Partnering at Roche
SQZ is interested in partnering with biopharma companies, academic centers, and others to develop therapies that transform patient lives.
For inquiries please contact: BD@sqzbiotech.com