Startups, BioPharma

Startup’s alternative to CAR-T immunotherapy: “PAR-T” therapy

Tychon Biosciences’ PAR-T therapy uses nanorings to link T-cells to cancer-seeking antigens – sidestepping any genetic engineering.

A spanking-new Minneapolis startup is building out an alternative to CAR-T immunotherapy: “PAR-T” technology.

As opposed to the engineered chimeric antigen receptors used in CAR-T, Tychon Biosciences uses “prosthetic antigen receptors” to create a new class of cancer-killing cell therapy. It’s currently still preclinical, though plans to enter the clinic soon.

Instead of genetically modifying a patient’s T-cells, as occurs in CAR-T, the idea behind Tychon’s technology is to use protein dimerization to build chemically self-assembling nanorings. These, in turn, combine a patient’s T-cells with cancer-seeking antigens.

“Nanoring-based PARs reactivate and retarget the immune system without the cost or long-term risks of genetic modification,” the company contends. Instead of using suicide genes or viral vectors, these nanorings can be dissolved with the antibiotic trimethoprim once the payload reaches the tumor site.

The startup is in the midst of a $3 million round, according to an SEC filing. The technology comes out of University of Minnesota medicinal chemistry professor Dr. Carston Wagner. It was launched by Minneapolis “venture catalyst” Invenshure just last month.