Decheng Capital and Eclipse Ventures lead Series B round, bringing total funding to over $100 million
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, May 5th, 2021 – Cellares Corporation, a life sciences technology company that automates cell therapy manufacturing, today announced it has secured $82 million in a Series B round, bringing total funding to date to $100 million. The round was led by new investor Decheng Capital and co-led by existing investor Eclipse Ventures. Skyviews Life Science joined as a new investor, with previous investor 8VC also participating.
This latest funding will accelerate development of the Cell Shuttle, Cellares’ scalable factory-in-a-box. The Cell Shuttle enables end-to-end automation of the labor- and time-intensive process of creating highly-individualized cell therapies, including CAR-T therapies currently used to treat blood cancers by modifying and growing cells from the patient’s own immune system to attack cancer cells. Cellares’ single platform allows pre-clinical development to easily transfer to the clinical environment – saving years compared with traditional manufacturing methods – and enables quick and efficient commercial scalability.
“There are more than 450,000 patients today who could potentially benefit from CAR-T cell therapies, a number expected to grow into the millions in a few years’ time1. Less than 1% of these patients are able to get access to these therapies, due to a lack of scalable cell manufacturing technologies,” said Fabian Gerlinghaus, co-founder and CEO of Cellares. “This latest round is validation of the work Cellares is doing to become the automated, high-throughput solution with the flexibility and customization necessary to overcome the biggest obstacles in cell therapy manufacturing today.”
The Cell Shuttle is a modular and automated solution comprising hardware, software, robotics and consumables and it is capable of producing 10 patient doses simultaneously. It is the first and only platform to achieve an order of magnitude improvement in instrument throughput, which enables biopharmaceutical companies to meet commercial scale patient demand. The Cell Shuttle’s automated, high throughput capabilities also lower costs by up to 75%, shorten the time between apheresis and product delivery – known as vein-to-vein time – and accelerate time to market by as much as 1-2 years, thanks to a single-platform approach.
“While cell therapies for blood cancers have seen tremendous scientific advances at a breakneck pace, the delivery of these life-saving therapies have encountered significant bottlenecks due to manual manufacturing processes. The Cellares Cell Shuttle is a highly anticipated solution that empowers drug developers to scale out to meet a growing patient demand for cell therapies,” said world-renowned cancer cell therapy pioneer Dr. Carl June, recent recipient of the Sanford Lorraine Cross Award for his groundbreaking work in developing CAR-T cell therapy, Cellares Advisory Board Member, and Professor in Immunotherapy and director for the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies at the University of Pennsylvania.
“With hundreds of new cell therapies already in development around the world, the as-yet untapped potential for a robust, automated manufacturing process is massive,” said Victor E. Tong, Partner at Decheng Capital. “Cellares is leading the way, and we at Decheng are looking forward to helping the company scale to meet this demand.”
For more information about Cellares and the Cell Shuttle, please visit cellares.com.
Cellares is creating the future of cell therapy manufacturing and accelerating access to life-saving cell therapies. The company is developing a one-of-a-kind solution to overcome the limitations associated with manufacturing cell therapies to make them more affordable and widely available to patients in need. With Cellares’ proprietary platform—The Cell Shuttle—biopharma companies, academic research centers and CDMOs will no longer have to compromise by either choosing a manufacturing platform that is semi-automated but lacks workflow flexibility, or one that provides customization but not the end-to-end automation needed to manufacture at scale. PACT Pharma and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have joined Cellares’ Early Access Partnership Program to participate in user studies, inform system specifications, and provide feedback on the Cell Shuttle to help ensure product-market fit. The company is headquartered in South San Francisco, Calif. For more information visit www.cellares.com.
Business Development contact:
1 Driving the next wave of innovation in CAR T-cell therapies (McKinsey)