• Grant award of £1.6M supports program of development work with Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult
  • NK:IO’s platform, based on pioneering discoveries in NK cell biology, yields industry-leading tumour killing and cell production

London, UK, 11 July 2023: NK:IO, a leader in NK cell biology applied to the development of exceptionally potent, off-the-shelf cell therapies targeting solid tumours, today announced it has been awarded £1.6M in grant funding from Innovate UK’s New Cancer Therapeutics program. The funding will support preclinical development, including development of a manufacturing process in collaboration with the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, whose mission is to support the UK’s cell and gene therapy industry.

NK:IO is based on pioneering discoveries in NK cell biology from Hugh J M Brady, Professor of Immunology, and Matt Fuchter, Professor of Chemistry, at Imperial College. NK:IO is exploiting these discoveries in its unique platform which activates blood stem cell progenitors to yield industry-leading NK cell tumour-killing potency and very high yield cell production, which it believes will be transformative in cancer cell therapy. In addition, this platform enables efficient engineering of progenitor cells to produce next-generation NK cells for further increases in potency or tumour targeting, which NK:IO is progressing for certain hard to treat tumour subtypes.

The company was founded in December 2020 by Hugh J M Brady, Matt Fuchter, and Mike Romanos, an experienced industry executive and entrepreneur. The Board is chaired by Keith Thompson CBE, former CEO of the UK’s Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult. The company’s first indication targeted will be ovarian cancer, in collaboration with Prof. Iain McNeish, Professor of Oncology at Imperial College, Director of the Ovarian Cancer Action Research Centre and a leading expert in the field.

Mike Romanos, Co-Founder and Interim CEO, NK:IO, said: “We are very excited by the potential of NK:IO’s platform to address unmet needs in cancer therapy and delighted to receive grant funding from this highly competitive new Innovate UK program. The funding will directly support our collaboration with the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult in a program of development work to scale our products and make them clinic-ready for our first clinical application in ovarian cancer.”

For further information about NK:IO please visit: nk-io.com

For further information about Innovate UK please visit: ukri.org/about-us/innovate-uk/

For further information about the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult please visit: ct.catapult.org.uk