- Cellares is on a Mission to Accelerate Access to Life-saving Cell Therapies
- Under the Collaboration, Fred Hutch Will Provide Input and Share Expertise Supporting Development of Cellares’ Innovative Manufacturing Platform
South San Francisco – October 29, 2020 – Cellares Corporation, a biotechnology company focused on revolutionizing cell therapy manufacturing, announced Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center as the first organization to join its Early Access Partnership Program (EAPP). Cellares is working to make cell therapy more widely available and affordable by providing preclinical and clinical scientists as well as commercial entities with the Cell Shuttle, a scalable and fully-automated manufacturing solution.
“Despite the demonstrated benefits of currently approved cell therapies for the treatment of multiple cancers, access to these cutting-edge treatments is limited by manufacturing bottlenecks,” said Fabian Gerlinghaus, co-founder and chief executive officer of Cellares. “Fred Hutch is a pioneer in the research and development of cell therapies for the treatment of cancer and other life-threatening diseases. As such, they are an ideal partner to help validate our game-changing platform and ensure it overcomes the challenges with cell therapy manufacturing for the benefit of patients around the world.”
As part of Cellares’ EAPP, Fred Hutch will provide the company with valuable insight into key manufacturing workflows for chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) therapies, natural killer (NK) cell therapies, and hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) therapies, among other relevant applications. The center will also participate in user studies, inform system specifications and provide feedback on Cellares’ proprietary platform to help ensure product-market fit.
“Innovation in cancer care has been incredible over the past decade with the emergence of cell therapies, but the process of creating these vital therapeutics is expensive and laborious,” said James Adams, senior administrative director, therapeutic products program at Fred Hutch. “We are collaborating with Cellares to explore ways that the Cell Shuttle could solve these problems.”
Cellares is led by a founding team who have a strong track record of inventing and building bespoke bioprocessing technologies from scratch, as well as building successful companies around these technologies. The Cellares founding team is comprised of former senior leaders at Synthego, a leading CRISPR-based genome engineering company:
- Fabian Gerlinghaus, co-founder and chief executive officer
- Omar Kurdi, co-founder and president
- Alex Pesch, co-founder and chief technology officer
Cellares has assembled a world-class Advisory Board of leading experts in the field of cell therapy whose insights have been invaluable in guiding the further development of the Cell Shuttle. Current scientific advisors include:
- Carl June, M.D., director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies at the Perelman School of Medicine, is recognized in the oncology field for his groundbreaking work in the development and commercialization of T-cell therapies, including collaboration with Novartis AG on the first FDA approved CAR-T therapy, Kymriah® (tisagenlecleucel).
- Megan Suhoski Davis, Ph.D., cell therapy manufacturing expert and director, Product Development Laboratory, Center for Cellular Immunotherapies at the University of Pennsylvania.
- Timothy Moore, M.S., industry pioneer responsible for the process development, manufacturing, quality and supply chain at Kite Pharma for the launch of Yescarta® (axicabtagene ciloleucel), the second FDA-approved CAR-T cell therapy, and president and chief operating officer of PACT Pharma.
- Bruce Cozadd, industry veteran with vast knowledge surrounding treatments for hematologic malignancies, and co-founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Jazz Pharmaceuticals.
Cellares raised $18 million in a Series A financing in August 2019 to build its scalable cell therapy manufacturing technology with support from top-tier investors, led by Eclipse Ventures, with participation from 8VC and EcoR1 Capital.
“We’re inspired by the Cellares team and their mission to improve the speed and efficacy in which cell therapies are developed and manufactured at scale to ensure they get to the patients that need them most,” said Justin Butler, partner at Eclipse Ventures. “With its breakthrough technology solution, experienced management team and vision to disrupt conventional methods, Cellares has the potential to make an indelible impact on the future of cell therapy manufacturing.”
About The Cell Shuttle
The Cell Shuttle is an automated and closed end-to-end manufacturing solution that is flexible and scalable, enabling customers to run the exact processes specified for their cell therapy. Compared with currently available cell therapy manufacturing methods, this next-generation platform enables a three-fold reduction in process failure rates and is capable of producing 10+ patient doses in parallel, which increases manufacturing scalability by an order of magnitude. This will reduce the per-patient manufacturing cost by up to 70 percent for most processes.
About Cellares Corporation
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 so cell therapies are 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. The company is headquartered in South San Francisco, Calif. For more information visit www.cellares.com.
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EDITOR’S NOTE: Kymriah and Yescarta are registered trademarks of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation and Kite Pharma Inc., respectively.
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