Last May at the BCF Career Event NTrans Technologies has been awarded the BCF Scale-up Award. What is the story behind this upcoming life science business?
‘The concept works for different cell types, so new applications will follow soon’, expects De Boer. ‘We already have a proof-of-concept for iTOP in skeletal muscle and hereditary eye diseases. The technology has very local effects with long-term efficacy and safety, which makes it very suitable for these kinds of applications. On the other hand, we are also developing immunotherapies with ex vivo gene editing of T-cells. Sometime, people with cancer may be cured with their own modified immune cells. The T-cells are then first genetically changed with iTOP to induce the cells to attack the tumor. We are working with labs at the Princess Máxima Center for Pediatric Oncology to develop this technology further and test the anti-tumor activity of these altered T-cells on tumor organoids.’
According to De Boer, their method can be a solid alternative to viral delivery of CRISPR/Cas. ‘Without using viruses to insert a gene we think CRISPR/Cas can be much safer. Viral delivery increases the risk of unwanted cuts in the DNA, so-called off-target editing. iTOP delivers a limited amount of protein to the cell, which after performing its job, is rapidly degraded,’ he says. ‘Our technology is fast, efficient and without the risks associated with long-term expression of gene editing systems. This inherent safety makes it very appealing for therapeutic application. The speed at which these gene editing technologies are developing is astounding. It is both exciting and a privilege to be working at the forefront of the translation of these applications into meaningful therapies.’
NTrans Technologies is a growing company, so De Boer is always interested to meet enthusiastic talent. Keep an eye on their website for more information and new job openings.