T-knife Therapeutics, Inc. a next-generation T-cell receptor company developing a pipeline of innovative therapeutics for patients with solid tumors, today announced the appointment of cell therapy and immuno-oncology thought leader, Peggy Sotiropoulou, Ph.D., as its Chief Scientific Officer.
“We are delighted to welcome Peggy to T-knife’s senior leadership team,” stated Thomas M. Soloway, Chief Executive Officer of T-knife. “Peggy brings over 20 years of successful experience in oncology research and development, with notable contributions to the field as both a scientist and drug developer. Peggy’s thought leadership in next-generation T cell technologies will greatly benefit T-knife as we continue to expand our pipeline and technology platforms.”
Prior to joining T-knife, Dr. Sotiropoulou was Head of Research & Development at Celyad Oncology where she led the development of multiple autologous and allogeneic CAR-T drug candidates and non-gene edited allogeneic T-cell platforms. Previously, Dr. Sotiropoulou was a tenured Research Associate Professor at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, where she led research on the response and sensitization of recalcitrant tumors to therapy. During her academic career, she concentrated her research on both immuno-oncology and fundamental oncology research characterizing cancer onset and progression. She is known for uncovering the way skin stem cells respond to DNA damage and how this leads to cancer onset or ageing, as well as for identifying the gene regulatory networks and signaling pathways that determine cancer cell invasiveness and metastatic potential. Dr. Sotiropoulou received her Ph.D. in Cancer Immunotherapy from the medical faculty of the University of Crete.
“I’m excited to join T-knife’s executive team at this pivotal moment for the company,” added Dr. Sotiropoulou. “The field of engineered cell therapy is rapidly advancing, and T-knife’s HuTCR platform has the potential to play an important role in both TCR-T and other next-generation modalities. I see great opportunity to leverage my experience, expertise and passion to contribute to T-knife’s mission of developing transformative therapies for cancer patients.”
About the HuTCR platform
T cells play a key role in the immune response by directly recognizing and eliminating infected, foreign or altered cells, such as cancer cells. To do this, they use their T-cell receptors (TCRs) to scan the surface of other cells for foreign antigens presented on Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) complexes. Cancer cells can be recognized by mutated or viral antigens expressed only in the tumor, or self-antigens normally expressed during embryonic development and in non-somatic adult tissues. Genetic engineering of T cells with TCRs recognizing antigens aberrantly or over-expressed in cancers can redirect these T cells to the tumor, potentially offering curative responses to cancer patients.
The ability to identify potent cancer-specific TCRs has been limiting for the field of TCR-T. In the case of self-antigens, T cells bearing those TCRs are eliminated during T cell development to avoid recognition and attack of healthy tissues. For non-self tumor antigens, such as those derived from viral sequences or mutations, the very low T cell frequency in the blood has limited TCR discovery efforts.
To overcome these challenges, T-knife has developed transgenic mice (HuTCR mice) carrying the human TCRαβ gene loci and expressing multiple human HLAs. Immunizing HuTCR mice with human tumor antigens, for which mice are not tolerant, allows for the identification of both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells with TCRs that have optimized affinity / specificity profiles capable of mediating significant anti-tumor activity. The TCRs from HuTCR mice are of higher affinity for tumor self-antigens than TCRs isolated from human donors and are naturally optimized to maintain a high specificity profile, making HuTCR mice a powerful high-throughput platform for rapidly generating TCRs with best-in-class potential.
About T-knife Therapeutics
T-knife is a next-generation T-cell receptor (TCR) company developing a pipeline of therapeutics for patients with solid tumors. The company leverages its proprietary humanized T-cell receptor (HuTCR) mouse platform to produce fully human TCRs, naturally selected in vivo for optimal affinity and specificity.
T-knife is developing a pipeline of potential first/best-in-class TCR therapeutics against targets with high unmet medical need, including cancer testis antigens, viral antigens and commonly shared neoantigens. T-knife was founded by leading T-cell and immunology experts using technology developed at the Max Delbruck Center for Molecular Medicine together with Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. For additional information, please visit the company’s website at www.t-knife.com.