STAT+: A new biotech startup looks to sidestep a key problem with CAR-T cancer therapies

There are two things Phil Greenberg, the head of immunology at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, is especially well-known for: a characteristic wiry gray mop of hair and wide glasses, and a rock-solid reputation as one of the leading researchers in cancer immunotherapy.

Greenberg was behind some of the key scientific advances that led to breakthrough CAR-T cell therapies, and co-founded Juno Therapeutics, a biotech that helped launch one of the first of those treatments. Now, he’s co-founding a new venture called Affini-T Therapeutics, a Seattle and Massachusetts-based company that hopes to eliminate cancers by targeting the source of cancer cells. The budding biotech, unveiled this week at the JPM Health Care Conference, will use a relatively new technology known as engineered T-cell receptors, or TCRs, to target oncogenic driver mutations, errors in key genes that cause cells to revolt and turn malignant in the first place.

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