CAMBRIDGE, MA, USA I January 24, 2023 I Cullinan Oncology, Inc. (Nasdaq: CGEM), a biopharmaceutical company focused on modality-agnostic targeted oncology therapies, today announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared its Investigational New Drug (IND) application for CLN-978, a CD19/CD3 T-cell engaging antibody construct with a human serum albumin (HSA) binding domain to increase serum half-life. Cullinan Oncology will initially evaluate CLN-978 in a Phase 1 trial for the treatment of relapsed/refractory B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (B-NHL).

“Despite advances for the treatment of B-cell malignancies, substantial unmet need remains for effective treatments. Preclinical evidence has demonstrated a differentiated profile for CLN-978 as it binds with very high affinity to CD19-expressing cells even at barely detectable levels of CD19.” said Jeffrey Jones, MD, MPH, MBA, Chief Medical Officer, Cullinan Oncology. “Consistent with our mission to create new standards of care for patients with cancer, CLN-978 has the potential to become a best-in-class treatment option for patients with B-cell malignancies by offering a highly potent off-the-shelf treatment that is delivered subcutaneously, resulting in more patient-friendly administration and potentially reduced toxicity. We are proud to advance this program, which came through our internal discovery pipeline and is Cullinan Oncology’s fourth clinical-stage asset, and we will be working diligently with investigators to enroll patients in our study.”

The study is a Phase 1, open-label, dose-escalation and dose-expansion study designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of CLN-978 in patients with relapsed/refractory B-NHL.

IND submission remains on track for CLN-617 (IL-2, IL-12 fusion protein) in 1H 2023.


CLN-978 is a novel, highly potent, half-life extended CD19/CD3 bispecific T-cell engaging antibody construct. CLN-978 contains two single-chain variable fragments (scFv), one recognizing with high affinity CD19 on malignant cells and the other targeting CD3 on T-cells. While CLN-978 resembles the BiTE format, it also contains a single-domain antibody (VHH) binding to human serum albumin (HSA). CLN-978 redirects and activates T-cells to destroy cancer cells via T-cell mediated cytotoxicity.

CLN-978 potentially offers a convenient, off-the-shelf therapeutic option that may provide an alternative to CD19 CAR T-cell therapies. High-affinity binding of CLN-978 to CD19 allows for increased potency against tumor cells expressing very low levels of CD19. An HSA-binding domain increases the serum half-life of CLN-978 and, with subcutaneous delivery, permits more patient-friendly dosing and potentially reduced toxicity.

CLN-978 has the potential to become a highly effective treatment option for patients across a range of B-cell malignancies, including those who have relapsed on other CD19-directed therapies due to reduced CD19 target expression. CLN-978 is currently being evaluated as a novel treatment for B-NHL, but with potential applicability across the entire spectrum of B-cell mediated diseases.

About Cullinan Oncology        

Cullinan Oncology, Inc. (Nasdaq: CGEM) is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to creating new standards of care for patients with cancer. We innovate without borders to find the most promising clinic-ready cancer therapies, whether from our own discovery efforts or through exceptional engagement with our academic and industry partners. Anchored in a deep understanding of immuno-oncology and translational cancer medicine, we leverage our scientific excellence in small molecules and biologics to create differentiated ideas, identify unique targets, and select the optimal modality to develop transformative therapeutics across cancer indications. Powered by our novel research model, we push conventional boundaries from candidate selection to cancer therapeutic, applying rigorous early experimentation to fast-track only the most promising assets to the clinic and ultimately commercialization. As a result, our diversified pipeline is strategically built with assets that activate the immune system or inhibit key oncogenic drivers across a wide range of modalities, each with the potential to be the best or first in their class.

Our people possess deep scientific expertise, seek innovation openly, and exercise creativity and urgency to deliver on our promise to bring new therapeutic solutions to patients with cancer. Learn more about our Company at, and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

SOURCE: Cullinan Oncology