Cytokines are small proteins that allow immune cells to communicate and are central to the body’s response to diseases, such as cancer, and to the maintenance of immune homeostasis. These naturally occurring, or wild-type, cytokines often exert many different types of responses, often on different or even the same cell types. This pleiotropy has made harnessing the therapeutic potential of these powerful modulators of the immune system difficult, as most cytokines either promote or dampen the body’s innate or adaptive immune response depending on the cell type and activation state of the cell. While several cytokine therapeutics have demonstrated meaningful benefit in the treatment of cancer and other diseases, cytokine pleiotropy has led to limited efficacy, dose-limiting toxicities, and narrow therapeutic windows.
Our goal is to utilize our world-class team’s expertise in cytokine biology, immunology, and drug development to harness the potential of cytokine therapeutics and avoid cytokine-mediated toxicities in order to become a leader in developing selective immunotherapies.
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 surrogate cytokine agonist platform enables us to combinatorially dimerize or multimerize receptor subunits in ways wild-type cytokines or mutein-based approaches cannot. 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?