RARE Daily

BlueRock and Senti Bio Collaborate to Develop Engineered Cell Therapies for Regenerative Medicine

May 26, 2021

Rare Daily Staff

BlueRock Therapeutics, an independently operated subsidiary of Bayer, and Senti Bio entered into a collaboration and option agreement to apply Senti Bio’s gene circuit technology to the development of BlueRock’s next generation engineered cell therapies for a potentially broad array of therapeutic areas, including but not limited to neurology, cardiology, and immunology within the field of regenerative medicine.

Under the terms of the agreement, Senti Bio will be responsible for designing, building, and testing cell state- and disease-specific Smart Sensors and Regulator Dials for use in BlueRock Therapeutics’ regenerative medicine product candidates. BlueRock Therapeutics will have the option to license gene circuits emerging from the collaboration for cell therapy products in specified indications. Upon option exercise, BlueRock Therapeutics will be responsible for conducting development and commercialization activities for any cell therapy candidates that incorporate Senti Bio’s licensed gene circuits.

“There is tremendous opportunity at the intersection of cell, gene, and systems biology. With control of all three axes, we believe we can further engineer the cell’s inherent potential to integrate multiple physiologic inputs to produce powerful therapeutic benefit in vivo,” said Emile Nuwaysir, president and CEO of BlueRock.

BlueRock Therapeutics develops engineered cell therapies using a proprietary cell+gene platform. Genetically engineered induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) provide a highly consistent and unlimited source for allogeneic cell therapies. These cells can be differentiated into a wide variety of therapeutic cell types to potentially treat diseases across neurology, cardiology and immunology indications, as well as others. BlueRock Therapeutics plans to apply Senti Bio’s Smart Sensor and Regulator Dial gene circuit technology platform towards the goal of developing highly sophisticated engineered cell therapies.

Smart Sensors are gene circuits designed to precisely detect cell type or disease environments, and thus distinguish between the “disease state” and “healthy state.” For example, Smart Sensors can be engineered to detect whether certain conditions, or disease biomarkers, are present before countering with a specific therapeutic response. These Smart Sensors include synthetic promoters, which are compact DNA sequences engineered to precisely regulate the expression of genes.

Regulator Dials are gene circuits designed to enable the precise tuning of therapeutic activity from a cell or gene therapy product. For example, Regulator Dials can be engineered to regulate therapeutic payload expression in response to varying concentrations of FDA-approved drugs. Regulator Dials are expected to enable the exogenous regulation of next-generation cell and gene therapies even after they have been delivered in vivo.

“We are engineering gene circuits to reprogram cells with biological logic to sense inputs, compute decisions and respond to their cellular environments,” said Tim Lu, CEO of Senti Bio. “By combining BlueRock’s iPSC platform with our sophisticated gene circuits, we believe that we have the potential to create the next generation of programmable regenerative medicines together.”

Photo: Emile Nuwaysir, president and CEO of BlueRock Therapeutics

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