MD Anderson Cancer Center and Dragonfly Therapeutics announce strategic collaboration to take new immunotherapy candidates into clinical trials

HOUSTON and WALTHAM, Mass. – The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Dragonfly Therapeutics, Inc., today announced a strategic collaboration to bring Dragonfly’s TriNKET™ (tri-specific natural killer cell engager therapy) immunotherapy drug candidates to patients in clinical trials beginning in 2019.

Dragonfly committed more than $10 million to launch the studies, which will be available for patients with both solid tumor and hematological cancers.

“We will be studying the possibility of offering novel therapeutics that can directly kill cancer, recruit immune cells and provide a potentially different safety window than existing immuno-oncology options,” said John Heymach, M.D., Ph.D., chair of Thoracic Head & Neck Medical Oncology at MD Anderson. “We are hopeful that these agents could provide a new treatment option for our patients.”

Dragonfly’s TriNKETs™ bind to the proteins expressed on both cancer cells and natural killer (NK) cells. Through this binding NK cells are activated, making them aware of the cancer and allowing them to directly kill the cancer cells while notifying other immune cells to attack the cancer. NK cells’ unique ability to distinguish stressed cancer cells from healthy cells also provides TriNKETs with a broader potential safety window than traditional T cell-based immunotherapies.

“MD Anderson has demonstrated expertise in advancing breakthrough treatment options to patients in thoughtfully designed, innovative clinical trials,” said Bill Haney, co-founder and CEO of Dragonfly Therapeutics. “We’re excited to work with their clinicians to bring our first oncology drug candidates to patients.”

About Dragonfly Therapeutics:
Dragonfly Therapeutics is committed to discovering, developing and commercializing therapies that use its novel TriNKET™ technology to harness the body's innate immune system to bring breakthrough cancer treatments to patients. For more information visit:, or

About MD Anderson

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston ranks as one of the world's most respected centers focused on cancer patient care, research, education and prevention. The institution's sole mission is to end cancer for patients and their families around the world. MD Anderson is one of only 49 comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). MD Anderson is ranked No. 1 for cancer care in U.S. News & World Report's Best Hospitals survey. It has ranked as one of the nation's top two hospitals for cancer care since the survey began in 1990, and has ranked first 14 times in the last 17 years. MD Anderson receives a cancer center support grant from the NCI of the National Institutes of Health (P30 CA016672).


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