Cytokines are a unique structural class of small messenger molecules that are powerful regulators of the immune system and can stimulate a wide range of different immune cells, primarily driven by their binding and interaction with cell surface receptors. Natural (or wild type) cytokines were evolved to maintain immune system homeostasis. From activating T cells to controlling inflammatory response, cytokines influence countless cellular pathways that are implicated in immunity in humans.
Most cytokines are pleiotropic, meaning that across multiple cell types a given cytokine can exert a range of responses, even opposing responses. This pleiotropy has proven to be a significant obstacle in the development of cytokine therapeutics. Existing cytokine therapeutics – such as aldesleukin and interferons – demonstrate meaningful efficacy in cancer and other diseases, but their applications are limited by significant side effects. However, their critical activities in modulating immune function cannot be overlooked.
We are discovering and developing engineered derivatives of therapeutically relevant, naturally occurring cytokines. These carefully engineered proteins provide tunable agonism of cytokine signaling while minimizing undesired activities. Our interleukin-2 (IL-2) partial agonists are based on the deep understanding of the structure-function relationship of this cytokine with its receptors, providing selective activation of particular immune cell types and enabling the development of IL-2-based therapeutics with a unique approach.
Our orthogonal ligand receptor system enables us to selectively activate engineered immune cells both in vitro and in vivo. This core technology enables Synthekine to develop improved versions of adoptive cell therapy products such as CAR-T cells and tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) therapies, and it facilitates the use of adoptive cell therapies in therapeutic applications that have proven difficult to treat by conventional methods.
We are currently developing a new CAR-T cell therapy product in combination with this technology, which provides many advantages with respect to available CAR-T products and cell therapies in development.
Our synthekine platform allows us to engineer cytokine agonists that oligomerize cytokine receptors without reliance on the wild-type cytokines. This platform is capable of activating new intracellular pathways, creating new biology and the opportunity for therapeutic intervention beyond what is otherwise possible even with engineered cytokines.
At Synthekine, we adventure beyond conventional scientific thinking. We believe this open mindset — questioning dogma and constantly re-examining the data — is instrumental in discovering and developing transformative medicines.
We are seeking the brightest minds in biology, immunology, pharmacology and protein chemistry to help us advance our cytokine therapeutic pipeline. Are you a scientist hoping to translate your understanding of the complex, unanticipated actions of the immune system into disease-optimized therapies?