“Off-the-shelf” CAR-NK cells for SARS-CoV-2 targeting in COVID-19 treatment

S309-CAR cells show higher lysis of cells transfected with the RBD of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein compared to control.

Invention Summary:


COVID-19 remains a pandemic and a critical medical concern across the world. Patients with severe symptoms who are admitted into the ER have grim prognosis and are sometimes faced with expensive and limited treatment options. New emerging COVID-19 variants, incomplete vaccine efficacy and vaccine hesitancy, and immunocompromised people unable to receive the vaccine – all indicate a large unmet need for an effective COVID-19 treatment despite vaccine deployment. 


Rutgers researchers have developed a natural killer cell expressing a chimeric antigen receptor (S309) capable of potentially neutralizing SARS-CoV-1 and -2. It specifically binds to the receptor binding domain of SARS-CoV-2 enabling the CAR-NK cell to prevent infection and kill infected target cells. Possible applications for this product include its use in the treatment of COVID patients. 


  • Binds to RBD of SARS-CoV-2 to prevent docking to host cells
  • Kills SARS-CoV-2 infected cells
  • Does not rely on patient’s own immunity when they are in lymphopenia
  • Immunocompromised people may be able to mount an immune response with CAR-NK technology against COVID-19
  • Allogenic, universal and “off-the-shelf” capability

Market Applications:

  • Prevention and/or treatment of COVID-19

Intellectual Property & Development Status: Patent Pending. Available for licensing and/or research collaboration.

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Tania Das Banerjee
Assistant Licensing Manager
Rutgers University
Bioengineering scaffolds