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Affini-T Therapeutics Announces Licensing Agreement with Leading Comprehensive Cancer Center to Expand Company’s Pipeline of Oncogenic Driver Programs


Multi-year research collaboration with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) aims to propel future innovation for patients with solid tumors

MSK’s Christopher A. Klebanoff, M.D., to serve Affini-T as Scientific Co-founder and Advisor

BOSTON, Mass. and SEATTLE, Wash. – April 13th, 2023Affini-T Therapeutics, Inc., a precision immunotherapy company unlocking the power of T cells against oncogenic driver mutations, today announced a licensing agreement with MSK. As a result of the collaboration, which includes a sponsored research agreement with MSK’s Klebanoff lab, Christopher A. Klebanoff, M.D., Associate Member and Attending Physician, Laboratory Head, Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program, and Member Investigator, Center for Cell Engineering at MSK, will join Affini-T as a Scientific Co-founder and Advisor.

“We are committed to pushing forward a first-in-class pipeline of treatments targeting oncogene driver mutations for patients with solid tumor malignancies,” said Jak Knowles, M.D., Co-founder, President and Chief Executive Officer, Affini-T Therapeutics. “In addition to his role as a leading cancer researcher and medical oncologist at MSK, Dr. Klebanoff and his lab team bring valuable insights into tumor biology, oncogene-specific targeting, T cell fitness within solid tumors, translational medicine and more to our company. We’re pleased to have him as part of our outstanding scientific team and look forward to working together to advance meaningful therapies for patients in need.”

Dr. Klebanoff is deeply involved in translational research, which fuels the discovery cycle at MSK across multiple domain areas. “The Klebanoff/Affini-T collaboration embodies MSK’s longstanding commitment to innovation with impact, using bench-to-bedside research to transform cancer care for patients around the globe,” said Gregory Raskin, MD, Senior Vice President, Technology Development at MSK.

“Core to the PICI mission is the need to overcome hurdles and forge collaborations. I am thrilled that Chris Klebanoff of MSK and Affini-T Scientific Co-founder Phil Greenberg of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, two exceptional PICI affiliated researchers, have joined forces to form a powerful partnership,” said Sean Parker, Executive Chairman of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy and Board Observer, Affini-T Therapeutics. “Chris Klebanoff is an esteemed scientist with significant experience in KRAS targeting and T cell receptor development, and I am delighted to welcome him in this critical role at Affini-T.”

Prior to joining MSK, Dr. Klebanoff was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Scholar and Assistant Clinical Investigator at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Klebanoff has contributed to the successful early phase development of numerous T cell-based therapies, notably Yescarta® (axicabtagene ciloleucel) at NCI. He is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) and has received prestigious awards including the Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator Award, a National Institutes of Health (NIH) MERIT Award and NIH Fellows Award for Research Excellence.

“As a practicing medical oncologist, my singular professional focus and that of my lab is to address the urgent needs of patients with cancer. While continuing in my work as a physician-scientist at MSK, I am proud to be joining a team passionately working towards a shared mission of engineering transformative therapies for patients with solid tumors,” said Dr. Klebanoff. “Affini-T is rapidly advancing its ground-breaking research toward the clinic, and I am honored to join its distinguished group of scientific co-founders and advisors whose pioneering research complements our work in the Klebanoff laboratory.”

About Affini-T Therapeutics

Affini-T is a leading precision immunotherapy company unlocking the power of T cells and targeting core oncogenic driver mutations to develop potentially curative therapies for patients with solid tumors. Our differentiated cell therapy platforms harness state-of-the-art engineering, synthetic biology and gene editing capabilities to target even the most devastating cancer-driving mutations, beginning with KRAS. We leverage these tools to optimize T cell functions and rewrite the rules of the solid tumor microenvironment, enabling the potential for sustained clinical outcomes in patients. Building on the world-class innovation inherent in our leadership team, founders and technologies, we are powered to develop transformational medicines that last. Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Dr. Klebanoff has financial interests related to Affini-T. Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) has institutional financial interests related to Affini-T.

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