AMBICION and RIKEN Enter into the Global Exclusive Licensing Agreements for Natural Killer T (NKT) Cell-Targeted Anti-Cancer Therapy

March 30, 2018

AMBICION (CEO: Yoshiyuki Saito) announced that RIKEN (President: Hiroshi Matsumoto) and AMBICION entered into the global exclusive licensing agreements on RIKEN patent regarding Natural Killer T (NKT) cell-targeted anti-cancer therapy.

Under the terms of the licensing agreement, AMBICION has been granted exclusive rights for development and commercialization of NKT cell ligands and NKT cell activation technology globally.

Under the license agreement, AMBICION pays an upfront cash payment and will also provide the development-based milestone payments to RIKEN. In addition, AMBICION will pay a specified amount of royalties to RIKEN in accordance with the sales amount of the product following its commercial launch.

Mr. Yoshiyuki Saito, CEO of AMBICION said “Through the execution of the license agreement, AMBICION established it business base. Therefore, from now on, we will accelerate the development of our products globally with a view to alliances with pharmaceutical companies so that we could provide new treatment option to cancer patients.”

In Japan, the investigator-initiated phase I study of the product has started at Keio University Hospital on March 12th.

Natural Killer T (NKT) cell

Natural Killer T (NKT) cells are unique T cells that combines the properties of NK cells.
NKT cells were first discovered in 1986 by Dr. Masaru Taniguchi (currently Senior adviser, Center for Integrative Medical Sciences, RIKEN) et al., and are known as the fourth lymphocyte following T, B cells, and NK cells. NKT cells account for around half of the T cells found in liver and bone marrow. NKT cells are activated promptly when glycolipid antigens are
recognized. Multi-type cytokines are produced upon this activation, inducing both immune-stimulation and -suppression.

NKT cell-targeted anti-cancer therapy

NKT cell-targeted anti-cancer therapy aims to activate patient’s own NKT cells. First, patient’s mononuclear cells are collected by apheresis, first. Then targeted cells are isolated and cultivated with NKT cells activated ligands at Cell Processing Center. This cell product is administrated to the patient.

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