a female researcher looking at cells on a slide

Mosaic ImmunoEngineering Inc. signs license-option to advance novel immunotherapy to treat cancer and infectious diseases

Agreement with CWRU Technology Transfer Office and Dartmouth College

Mosaic ImmunoEngineering Inc., a private biotechnology company based in Novato, California, has signed a two-year option agreement with Case Western Reserve University and Dartmouth College, granting the company the exclusive right to license technology for a novel platform technology using virus-like nanoparticles (“VLP”) to treat and prevent cancer and infectious diseases in humans and for veterinary use.

The technology has broad potential to treat many different types of cancer and is supported by numerous scientific publications and grant funding. The technology also has direct application as part of a vaccine platform, which has generated promising data in both cancer and infectious diseases, including COVID-19, through research funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).  

An option agreement provides Mosaic two years to obtain a full license agreement. A license option typically is granted to a company interested in further evaluation of the technology before entering into a full license agreement that allows the company to commercially market it.  The two-year option to license agreement, is managed through Case Western Reserve’s Technology Transfer Office.

“Along with providing world-class research in many areas, Case Western Reserve University and Dartmouth College are striving to translate these exciting discoveries into products that can make a difference in the lives of patients with life threatening illnesses,” said Wayne Hawthorne, senior licensing manager in the university’s Technology Transfer Office. “We encourage our faculty to conduct basic research which can become the basis of discoveries that have direct application to clinical needs such as the technology that Mosaic is seeking to advance. Considerable research and progress was made on the technology through internal awards and grants that funded early product development and clinical proof from organizations such Coulter Foundation, Council to Advance Human Health and Ohio Third Frontier Technology Validation and Start-Up Fund.”

The inventors of the technology include Nicole Steinmetz, professor in the Department of NanoEngineering and director of the Center for Nano-ImmunoEngineering at the University of California San Diego (UCSD), and Jonathan Pokorski, associate professor in the Department of NanoEngineering at UCSD. During their tenure at Case Western Reserve, they worked in conjunction with Steven Fiering, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine.

The researchers have collectively demonstrated that plant-derived, engineered VLP-based nanotechnologies stimulate a potent anti-tumor immune response in mouse models of metastatic melanoma, ovarian cancer, colon cancer, brain cancer and breast cancer, including companion dogs with metastatic melanoma. This data supports the potential to translate preclinical studies into veterinary applications, such as the treatment of cancer in companion animals, which has high relevance to human melanoma. 

“We are pleased to have completed this agreement with CWRU and Dartmouth, and look forward to working closely with the university and Drs. Steinmetz, Pokorski and Fiering to rapidly advance the highly promising technology platforms into the clinic,” said Steven King, co-founder and chief executive officer of Mosaic. “This technology platform includes many opportunities in oncology and infectious diseases, including both human and veterinary applications. This is a very important milestone for Mosaic, and we are very happy to have the opportunity to work with prestigious universities and an impressive team of scientists.”

“This immuno-oncology approach provides a personalized treatment approach by relieving the patient’s tumor-mediated immunosuppression and potentiating anti-tumor immunity against antigens expressed by their own tumor,” said Steinmetz, a co-inventor of the technology and a co-founder and chief scientific officer of Mosaic. “The vaccine platform is a natural extension of the immune-stimulating properties of the VLP, combined with directing the response to pre-defined targets. Instead of being a personal vaccine, the modular approach of linking disease specific targets to the VLP allows the potential to rapidly develop countermeasures for pandemics such as COVID-19.”

Mosaic, through its founding team, has identified a lead oncology candidate for advancement into clinical trials and the ongoing NSF-funded research is supporting the application of the technology toward the development of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19. Over the past 10 years, the technology has been funded through numerous research grants totaling more than $20 million.  

For more information, contact Bill Lubinger at william.lubinger@case.edu.