Press Releases

Press Releases March 26, 2024
Ankyra Therapeutics and Jenga Biosciences Announce Exclusive License Agreement for JEN‐101

March 26, 2024 (Cambridge, MA) – Ankyra Therapeutics and Jenga Biosciences are pleased to announce today an exclusive license agreement to develop and commercialize JEN-101 (formerly known as cANK-101). JEN-101 is a first-in-class, pre-clinical immuno-oncology agent based on Ankyra’s anchored platform. JEN-101 is composed of a fully canine interleukin-12 (IL-12) complexed with aluminum hydroxide. The drug is designed to be retained within tumors for an extended period and provide therapeutic activity with limited systemic toxicity.

Ankyra has conducted an exploratory study of JEN-101 in dogs with advanced melanoma. “The canine study has confirmed that JEN-101  elicits potent biological activity in dogs with melanoma at doses that demonstrate good safety,” stated Rob Tighe, Chief Scientific Officer at Ankyra. He added that “the canine trial provides preliminary evidence that JEN-101 offers a therapeutic benefit in dogs with cancer and adds to the validation of our anchored therapy platform as an effective way to reduce the toxicities associated with powerful anti-tumor agents, such as IL-12”.

Under the terms of the agreement, Jenga will have an exclusive worldwide license to develop, manufacture, and commercialize JEN-101. Ankyra will receive an upfront payment and Jenga will take the lead on further development and commercialization of JEN-101. Ankyra will be eligible for regulatory and commercial milestone payments, plus royalties on worldwide sales.

Dr. Howard Kaufman, Chief Executive Officer at Ankyra stated, “We are especially excited about the opportunity to collaborate with Jenga as both companies have a strong commitment to patient-focused care and brings together an enormous wealth of experience in animal and human health drug development.” Dr. Kaufman went on to add, “this licensing agreement also provides a very unique model for advancing both animal health drug development, while focusing on our main mission which is finding effective drugs for human patients with cancer.” Future Ankyra pipeline agents could be developed by Jenga for animal health indications per the licensing agreement.

Julia Stephanus, Executive Chair of Jenga Biosciences and Partner at Borealis Ventures, expressed enthusiasm for the licensing agreement with Ankyra. “Jenga is dedicated to developing safe and effective drugs for canine cancer, an area with substantial demand for advancements and tremendous need. Our hope is that the progress in human immuno-oncology will translate to improved outcomes for dogs with a variety of cancers.”

About Canine Cancer

Cancer is the most common cause of death in dogs and occurs in over 50% of dogs over the age of ten. Each year six million dogs are diagnosed with a variety of different cancers, including many that occur in humans, such as lymphoma, melanoma, sarcoma, osteosarcoma, and mammary gland tumors. The mainstay of treatment is early detection and surgical resection with or without radiation therapy, when possible. There are few effective treatment options for dogs with more advanced solid tumors. Recent research has suggested that dogs could serve as a highly translatable model for human cancer. Dog cancers exhibit similar genetic alterations as human cancers. Dog tumors develop spontaneously in  the presence of an intact immune system, and dogs are subject to comparable environmental carcinogen exposures as humans. Thus, advancing our understanding of cancer in dogs and testing new therapeutic approaches in dogs may have a positive impact on human cancer management.

About Ankyra Therapeutics

Ankyra Therapeutics is a biotechnology company that has developed a highly differentiated technology platform that expands the therapeutic window of cytokine drugs by forming a stable depot in the tumor after local administration leading to prolonged immune activation and potent local and systemic immunity with reduced systemic toxicity. Ankyra was founded in 2019 and is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more information, please visit

About Jenga Biosciences

Jenga Biosciences is an early-stage veterinary biotherapeutics company, utilizing breakthroughs from human biopharmaceuticals to enhance animal health. Specializing in pioneering immunotherapies for canine oncology, we are dedicated to extending and enhancing the quality of dogs’ lives. Our goal is to set new standards of care for canine cancer through cutting-edge therapies that are both accessible and affordable. Discover more at

For Ankyra Media and Investor Inquiries:
Howard L. Kaufman, MD
President and CEO
Ankyra Therapeutics

For Jenga Investor Inquiries:
Julia Stephanus
Executive Chair
Jenga Biosciences