Agenus Doses First COVID-19 Patient with iNKT Cell Therapy

  • Allogeneic (off the shelf) iNKT cell therapy targets patients with moderate to severe COVID-19
  • iNKT cells designed to clear SARS-CoV-2 virus while reducing harmful inflammation

LEXINGTON, Mass., Nov. 02, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Agenus Inc. (NASDAQ: AGEN), an immuno-oncology company with an extensive pipeline of agents designed to activate immune response to cancers and infectious diseases, announced the dosing of the first COVID-19 patient with agenT-797, an allogeneic cell therapy, through its subsidiary, AgenTus Therapeutics. The trial is being led by Dr. Koen van Besien at Weill Cornell Medical College/New York Presbyterian Hospital. Separately, the FDA has also cleared agenT-797 to treat patients with cancer. Cancer trials are expected to commence shortly.

"We are pleased to advance our proprietary iNKT cell therapy in our efforts to address the COVID-19 pandemic," said Dr. Walter Flamenbaum, CEO of AgenTus Therapeutics. "Our trial is designed to treat patients with moderate to severe symptoms of COVID-19, where these cells have the potential to clear SARS-CoV-2 virus, dampen harmful inflammation, and prevent reinfection."

"iNKT cell therapy offers new promise for the fight against solid tumor cancers as well as COVID-19," said Dr. Garo Armen, Chairman and CEO of Agenus. "iNKTs can penetrate tissues, giving them a critical advantage in targeting solid tumors not currently served by approved cell therapies. iNKTs have also demonstrated curative potential in preclinical cancer models that are refractory to available therapies. Our product is designed to treat patients affordably and accessibly."

As a subsidiary of Agenus, AgenTus currently has unique access to Agenus's portfolio of checkpoint antibodies and cancer vaccines which allows for optimal combinations with its cell therapies. This gives the company enormous flexibility to develop effective combinations with curative potential for patients with cancer and infectious disease at a significant cost advantage.

About AgenTus Therapeutics, Inc.
AgenTus Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of breakthrough unmodified and modified allogeneic iNKT cells with engineered receptors, such as T cell receptors (TCRs) and Chimeric Antigen Receptors (CARs), designed to supercharge the human immune system cells to seek and destroy cancer. AgenTus also aims to advance adoptive cell therapy formats which would enable off-the-shelf living drugs. AgenTus has locations in Lexington, MA and Cambridge, UK. For more information, please visit

About Agenus
Agenus is a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company focused on the discovery and development of therapies that engage the body's immune system to fight cancer. The Company's vision is to expand the patient populations benefiting from cancer immunotherapy by pursuing combination approaches that leverage a broad repertoire of antibody therapeutics, adoptive cell therapies (through its AgenTus Therapeutics subsidiary), and proprietary cancer vaccine platforms. The Company is equipped with a suite of antibody discovery platforms and a state-of-the-art GMP manufacturing facility with the capacity to support clinical programs. Agenus is headquartered in Lexington, MA. For more information, please visit and our Twitter handle @agenus_bio. Information that may be important to investors will be routinely posted on our website and Twitter.

Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements that are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the federal securities laws, including statements regarding the anticipated commencement of cell therapy clinical trials for cancer and COVID-19 and the expected benefits to be observed in these trials and with these cell therapy treatments generally. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. These risks and uncertainties include, among others, the factors described under the Risk Factors section of our most recent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q or Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Agenus cautions investors not to place considerable reliance on the forward-looking statements contained in this release. These statements speak only as of the date of this press release, and Agenus undertakes no obligation to update or revise the statements, other than to the extent required by law. All forward-looking statements are expressly qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement.

Agenus Inc. 
Caroline Bafundo

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