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Affimed Presents Preclinical Data Showing that Addition of an Innate Cell Engager to NK and CAR-NK Cells Improves Tumor Cytotoxicity of Both Cell Types at the 38th Annual Meeting of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer

  • Addition of Affimed’s innate cell engager (ICE®) improves cytotoxicity of natural killer (NK) cells and CAR-NK cells
  • NK cells with ICE® show at least comparable anti-tumor cell efficacy to CAR-NK cells with ICE®
  • ICE® combined with NK cells obviate the need for complex and costly manufacturing compared to CAR-NK cells
  • ICE® offer flexibility to be used with NK cells from different sources

MANNHEIM, Germany, Nov. 03, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Affimed N.V. (Nasdaq: AFMD) (“Affimed”, or the “Company”), a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company committed to giving patients back their innate ability to fight cancer, today presented a poster at the annual meeting of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC), indicating the Company’s ICE® improves cytotoxicity of NK and CAR-NK cells and that NK cells redirected by ICE® exhibit at least the same efficacy against tumor cells as CAR-NK cells alone or redirected by the ICE®. The results emerged from a collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology (IZI) in Leipzig, Germany.

“This is the first direct comparison of NK cells redirected by Affimed’s ICE® with CAR-NK cells,” said Dr. Arndt Schottelius, Chief Scientific Officer at Affimed. “It is exciting to see that the combination of NK cells with ICE® exhibits an anti-tumoral efficacy which is at least comparable to that of CAR-NK cells. The combination of allogeneic NK cells with ICE® molecules represents the most straightforward way to generate potent and targeted NK cells. This suggests high flexibility and cost-effective manufacturing as there is no additional engineering of NK cells required.”

To compare approaches, the preclinical efficacy of NK cells combined with a tetravalent bispecific CD16A/CD19-targeting ICE® against CD19-positive tumor cells was compared to the efficacy of anti-CD19 CAR-NK cells alone or in combination with the ICE®. Cytotoxic activation was assessed by calcein-release assays, degranulation, cytokine secretion, and specific CD19-positive target cell killing.

The combination of the ICE® molecule with NK cells or CAR-NK cells enhanced antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) against tumor cells and mediated elevated levels of degranulation when compared to NK cells or CAR-NK cells alone.

In conclusion, the combination of NK cells with ICE® represents a straight-forward way to potently target and activate NK cells.

Details of the poster presentation are as follows:

Title: Redirecting NK cell cytotoxicity by Innate Cell Engagers: A differentiated and innovative approach compared to CAR-NK cells
Authors: Sonya Ioana Ciulean, Julia Uhlig, Christian Breunig, Thea Eichenberg, Joe Fischer, Michael Albers, Jan Schmollinger, Jens Pahl, Ivica Fucek, Christoph Bach, Paul Franz, Anna Dünkel, Stephan Fricke, Thomas Grunwald, Ulrike Köhl, Joachim Koch
Abstract Number: 329
Poster Presentation Time: Friday, Nov. 3, 2023, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. and 5:10 – 6:40 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time
Location: Exhibit Halls A and B1 – San Diego Convention Center

Please find a link to the abstract on the SITC website: Home - SITC 2023 (

About Affimed N.V.

Affimed (Nasdaq: AFMD) is a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company committed to giving patients back their innate ability to fight cancer by actualizing the untapped potential of the innate immune system. The Company’s proprietary ROCK® platform enables a tumor-targeted approach to recognize and kill a range of hematologic and solid tumors, enabling a broad pipeline of wholly-owned and partnered single agent and combination therapy programs. The ROCK® platform predictably generates customized innate cell engager (ICE®) molecules, which use patients’ immune cells to destroy tumor cells. This innovative approach enabled Affimed to become the first company with a clinical-stage ICE®. Headquartered in Mannheim, Germany, with offices in New York, NY, Affimed is led by an experienced team of biotechnology and pharmaceutical leaders united by a bold vision to stop cancer from ever derailing patients’ lives. For more about the Company’s people, pipeline and partners, please visit:

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements, which are often indicated by terms such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “goal,” “intend,” “look forward to,” “may,” “plan,” “potential,” “predict,” “project,” “should,” “will,” “would” and similar expressions. Forward-looking statements appear in a number of places throughout this release and include statements regarding the Company’s intentions, beliefs, projections, outlook, analyses and current expectations concerning, among other things, the potential of AFM13, AFM24, AFM28 and the Company’s other product candidates, the value of its ROCK® platform, its ongoing and planned preclinical development and clinical trials, its collaborations and development of its products in combination with other therapies, the timing of and its ability to make regulatory filings and obtain and maintain regulatory approvals for its product candidates, its intellectual property position, its collaboration activities, its ability to develop commercial functions, clinical trial data, its results of operations, cash needs, financial condition, liquidity, prospects, future transactions, growth and strategies, the industry in which it operates, the macroeconomic trends that may affect the industry or the Company, such as the instability in the banking sector experienced in the first quarter of 2023, impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the benefits to Affimed of orphan drug designation, the impact on its business by political events, war, terrorism, business interruptions and other geopolitical events and uncertainties, such as the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the fact that the current clinical data of AFM13 in combination with NK cell therapy is based on AFM13 precomplexed with fresh allogeneic cord blood-derived NK cells from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, as opposed to Artiva’s AB-101 and other uncertainties and factors described under the heading “Risk Factors” in Affimed’s filings with the SEC. Given these risks, uncertainties, and other factors, you should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, and the Company assumes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements, even if new information becomes available in the future.

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Tel.: +1 (917) 436-8102

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