MiNK Therapeutics CEO Jennifer Buell

In wan­ing Covid mar­ket, MiNK un­veils da­ta on nat­ur­al killer T cell ther­a­py for ARDS, pend­ing con­tract with DARPA

In an SITC poster, Agenus’ spin­out MiNK Ther­a­peu­tics dropped the re­sults of a Phase I/II study of its lead can­di­date, made from rare im­mune cells known as in­vari­ant nat­ur­al killer T cells, or iNKT cells for short, for treat­ing acute res­pi­ra­to­ry dis­tress syn­drome (ARDS), a se­ri­ous com­pli­ca­tion of Covid.

MiNK was and still is de­vel­op­ing the iNKT ther­a­py, dubbed agenT-797, for treat­ing can­cer, but like oth­ers, it piv­ot­ed dur­ing the pan­dem­ic and start­ed a small 20-per­son study in ARDS pa­tients who were in­tu­bat­ed or at high risk of be­ing in­tu­bat­ed. In the tri­al, pa­tients who got MiNK’s ther­a­py had a 70% chance of sur­vival com­pared to 10% in a case con­trol group of 20 pa­tients at 30 days. In a more se­vere sub­group, three of four pa­tients who were on EC­MO, es­sen­tial­ly an ar­ti­fi­cial lung ma­chine, and got agenT-797 on top of that sur­vived through 90 days.

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