“Tessa has a unique focus on making use of viruses as a driver for therapeutic treatments of cancer, and that’s very important because T cells in particular have primarily emerged to control virus infections.”

Dr Malcolm Brenner
Scientific Co-founder of Tessa Therapeutics

Platform Technology

Our core Virus-Specific T cells platform shows promising efficacy and proven safety in multiple solid tumor and hematologic neoplasms.

What is a Virus-Specific
T cell (VST)?

VSTs are highly specialized T cells produced specifically in response to a viral infection. These cells have the ability to recognize and kill infected cells while activating other parts of immune system for a coordinated response. VSTs persist in the body and activate a rapid immune response if the virus is encountered again.

Properties of VSTs

Our VSTs have shown compelling clinical results across multiple Tessa and academic clinical trials with strong evidence in:

Clinical Benefit

Complete and partial responses observed in several solid tumor indications, including advanced nasopharyngeal cancer, cervical cancer, and neuroblastoma 1-4

Safety Profile

Hundreds of patients infused across a variety of settings – VSTs as a single agent, with genetic modifications (including CARs), or as allogeneic therapy – with no cytokine release syndrome (CRS) or central nervous system (CNS) Toxicity 1-16.. Only grade 1 & 2 toxicities observed.


Complete responses ongoing at 20 months (cervical cancer) 2 . VSTs have been observed to persist over 8 years post-fusion 5 and 29 months (EBV+ lymphoproliferative disease) 6


1 Chia W. K., et al. Mol Ther. 2014;
2 Ongoing trial (NCT02379520) as of January 2019;
3 Louis C. U., et al. J Immunother. 2010;
4 Pule M. A., et al. Nature Medicine. 2008;
5 Heslop H. E., et al. 2010;
6 Ongoing trial (NCT02287311);
7 Straathof K., et al. 2005;
8 Louis C. U., et al. 2009; 9 XXZ);
9 Louis C. U., et al. Blood. 2011;
10 Bollard C. M., et al. 2014.;
11 Ongoing trial (NCT02578641);
12 Bollard C. M., et al. J Clinical Oncology. 2018;
13 Ahmed, N., et al. JAMA Oncology, 2017;
14 Ahmed N., et al. J Clinical Oncology. 2015;
15 AACR 2015. Abstract CT107 (2 trials);
16 ASCO 2016. Abstract 3012

Our Approach

We employ our understanding of the body’s anti-viral immune response to rationally design the next generation of cancer treatments. Our core technology redirects the innate and adaptive arms of anti-viral immunity to create a sustained anti-cancer immune response.

How is our VST platform widely applicable?

The solid safety profile of VSTs enables our platform to be combined with a wide range of next generation therapies, broadening the cancer range and enhancing the scalability of our treatments.

VSTs & Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR)

CAR VSTs combine the safety, durability, and persistence of VSTs with antigen specificity of a CAR.  Tessa has CAR targets in development and late pre-clinical stage.

VSTs & Oncolytic Viruses

Oncolytic viruses selectively replicate and destroy cancer cells. Combining VSTs with oncolytic viruses boosts the innate and adaptive immune response against the tumor.

Allogeneic Therapy Using Tessa’s VST Platform

Allogenic VSTs are generated from healthy donors cells to provide an off-the-shelf treatment option to patients. Due to the viral specificity of their TCRs, VSTs do not require TCR or HLA gene editing to ensure a low risk of graft-versus-host disease.