MINNEAPOLIS & EL SEGUNDO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE )-- Be The Match BioTherapies ®, an organization offering solutions for companies developing and commercializing cell and gene therapies, and NantKwest (Nasdaq: NK), a next generation, clinical-stage immunotherapy company focused on harnessing the unique power of the immune system using natural killer (NK) cells to treat cancer and infectious diseases, today announced an agreement through which Be The Match BioTherapies is providing donor material for a NantKwest Phase 1b clinical trial to address acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), one of the primary causes of COVID-19 deaths.
The agreement combines Be The Match BioTherapies' ability to provide high-quality cellular source material from the world's largest registry of volunteer donors with NantKwest's capabilities in manufacturing off-the-shelf cell therapies. NantKwest's allogeneic cell therapy is derived from human bone marrow and designed to treat the ARDS that results from severe COVID-19 cases. The therapy, called BM-Allo.MSC, uses mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), multipotent progenitor cells known to have immunomodulatory properties, to reduce the lung inflammation associated with ARDS. Similar work in Europe with allogeneic MSC products in patients with COVID-19 and ARDS has demonstrated safety and efficacy in reducing inflammatory processes.
NantKwest recently announced FDA authorization of its investigational new drug (IND) application for BM-Allo.MSC and is moving rapidly to initiate a Phase 1b trial in patients with severe COVID-19. To expedite trial initiation, Be The Match BioTherapies is providing cryopreserved donor stem cell material from the Be The Match BioBank, a program of the National Marrow Donor Program®/Be The Match®. The accelerated access to material, combined with NantKwest's scalable manufacturing processes, will allow for rapid distribution of BM-Allo.MSC to patients in need.
"There is an immediate need for COVID-19 therapies across all stages of the disease, including for patients with ARDS, which is one of the most critical conditions caused by COVID-19," said Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NantKwest. "Thanks to the quality source material provided by Be The Match BioTherapies, we are prepared to rapidly scale manufacturing of this much-needed therapy, potentially saving numerous patients' lives."
"Through our team's unparalleled ability to identify, source and deliver high-quality donor material we have the opportunity to support the advancement of a cell therapy with potential to change the world. We are proud to partner with NantKwest to support our mission to save lives through cellular therapy and continue to make a difference for critically ill patients around the globe," said Chris McClain, Senior Vice President, Sales and New Business Development at Be The Match BioTherapies.
About Be The Match BioTherapies
Be The Match BioTherapies  is the only cell and gene therapy solutions provider with customizable services to support the end-to-end cell therapy supply chain. Backed by the industry-leading experience of the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP)®/Be The Match ®, and a research partnership with the CIBMTR®  (Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research®), the organization designs solutions that advance the development of cell and gene therapies across the globe.
Be The Match BioTherapies is dedicated to accelerating patient access to life-saving cell and gene therapies by providing high-quality cellular source material from the Be The Match Registry ®, the world's largest and most diverse registry of more than 22 million potential blood stem cell donors. Through established relationships with apheresis, marrow collection and transplant centers worldwide, the organization develops, onboards, trains and manages expansive collection networks to advance cell therapies. Be The Match BioTherapies uses proven infrastructure consisting of regulatory compliance and managed logistics experts, as well as cell therapy supply chain case managers to successfully transport and deliver regulatory compliant life-saving therapies across the globe. Through the CIBMTR, Be The Match BioTherapies extends services beyond the cell therapy supply chain to include long-term follow-up tracking for the first two FDA-approved CAR-T therapies.
NantKwest (Nasdaq: NK) is an innovative, clinical-stage immunotherapy company focused on harnessing the power of the innate immune system to treat cancer and virally-induced infectious diseases. NantKwest is the leading producer of clinical dose forms of off-the-shelf natural killer (NK) cell therapies. The activated NK cell platform is designed to destroy cancer and virally-infected cells. The safety of these optimized, activated NK cells—as well as their activity against a broad range of cancers—has been tested in Phase I clinical trials in Canada and Europe, as well as in multiple Phase I and II clinical trials in the United States. By leveraging an integrated and extensive genomics and transcriptomics discovery and development engine, together with a pipeline of multiple, clinical-stage, immuno-oncology programs, NantKwest's goal is to transform medicine by delivering living drugs-in-a-bag and bringing novel NK cell-based therapies to routine clinical care. NantKwest is a member of the NantWorks ecosystem of companies. For more information, please visit www.nantkwest.com .
Source: Be The Match BioTherapies