LUMICKS and LAVA Therapeutics enter collaboration to characterize its tumor-specific γδ T-cell engagers

December 17, 2020

In their quest of creating safe and effective immunotherapy cancer treatments, VU spinoff LUMICKS and Amsterdam UMC spinoff LAVA Therapeutics joined forces. The partnership aims to evaluate the efficacy of various tumor-specific γδ T-cell engagers based on the resulting binding strengths (cell avidity) between T cells and tumors, measured with LUMICKS newly installed z-Movi® Cell Avidity Analyzer.

LAVA Therapeutics develops off-the-shelf bispecific antibodies engineered to simultaneously bind Vγ9Vδ2 T cells and tumor cells to activate tumor-cell killing. The first two γδ T-cell engagers are expected to enter the clinic in 2021.

The company will use the z-Movi to evaluate select Vγ9Vδ2 T-cell engagers for intercellular binding characteristics in relation to their potential to activate Vγ9Vδ2 T cell-induced tumor killing. Comparison of avidities will provide insights that contribute to the development of future tumor-specific Vγ9Vδ2 T cell engagers.

We’re thrilled to join forces with LAVA Therapeutics, providing them with an effective tool to better understand characteristics of different γδ T-cell engagers and facilitate selection of top candidates for future clinical trials,” said Zhong Yu, senior global product manager at LUMICKS. “Measurements with the z-Movi offer an unprecedented approach to study intercellular interactions, which are predictive of T-cell efficacy, and accelerate the development of tumor-specific T-cell engagers as well as other immunotherapeutic candidates.”

LUMICKS is a leading life sciences company that develops equipment for dynamic single-molecule and cell avidity analysis, two emerging areas in biology research and immuno-oncology (IO). Built upon innovative technologies, such as optical tweezers, STED super-resolution, and acoustic force spectroscopy, LUMICKS’ tools facilitate the understanding of life to the smallest detail. Applying and measuring forces in biology enables real-time analysis of true biological mechanisms. This creates the crucial and yet unexplored bridge between structure and function at the molecular and cellular level. The latest technology in the company’s arsenal, the z-Movi® Cell Avidity Analyzer, enables the measurement and selection of immune cells based on their strength of interaction with cancer cells. This technology is game-changing for the development and application of IO therapies for the treatment of cancer.

About LAVA Therapeutics
LAVA Therapeutics is developing a proprietary T-cell engager therapeutics platform for the treatment of hematological and solid cancers. The company’s first-in-class immuno-oncology approach uses bispecific antibodies that activate Vγ9Vδ2 T-cells upon binding to membrane-expressed tumor targets. LAVA was founded in 2016 based on intellectual property originating from the Amsterdam University Medical Center. The company has established a highly experienced research and development team located in Utrecht, the Netherlands and Philadelphia, USA.