We squeeze PBMCs (peripheral blood mononuclear cells), drawn from the patient, with disease-specific antigens. Once delivered back into the patient, the engineered cells present antigen via MHC class I to CD8+ killer T cells. This interaction drives the CD8+ T cells to proliferate and target the antigen-associated cells.
Key Criteria for Effective CD8 T Cells
Our SQZ APC (Antigen Presenting Cells) platform is focused on generating robust and specific CD8+ T cell responses, which are known to be critical to powerful immune responses. We believe that the primary keys to driving responses are the quantity, quality, and specificity of the CD8+ T cells that are generated.
We are currently developing SQZ APC products to drive killer CD8+ T cell activity against solid tumors and infectious diseases.
SQZ APCs FOR ONCOLOGY
The first application of our SQZ APC platform is in oncology. The SQZ APCs are engineered with tumor-specific antigens and when administered to a patient, potentially direct CD8+ killer T cells to precisely attack a patient’s cancer. SQZ APCs for Oncology are being developed in partnership with Roche.
Our lead SQZ APC product candidate, SQZ-PBMC-HPV, is focused on HPV+ solid tumors. SQZ-PBMC-HPV is being evaluated in a Phase 1 clinical trial for the treatment of HPV16+ advanced or metastatic solid tumors.
SQZ APC platform has preclinically demonstrated the potential to induce immune responses against a broad range of tumor targets. The SQZ APC platform could produce a pipeline of products for cancer patients.
SQZ APCs FOR Infectious Diseases
We believe that insufficient antigen presentation to CD8+ T cells is a key problem that has inhibited success of therapeutic vaccines in both oncology and infectious disease. As with the SQZ APC platform for oncology, our platform in infectious diseases has the potential to create rapid and powerful therapeutic vaccines that induce specific endogenous CD8+ T cells to drive a targeted immune response against chronic and acute infectious diseases in both prophylactic and therapeutic patient settings.