Cell Therapy Manufacturing: Here are the Key Innovations

Last week, during our weekly industry update sessions, our prime focus was to understand the recent innovations in the field of cell therapy manufacturing. We were also looking out for players that are driving these innovations.

To start with, the first news that caught our attention was Novartis’ decision to sidestep Europe travel ban to provide CAR-T drug Kymriah to patients. Amid the growing concerns regarding the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases, this decision by Novartis certainly comes as a much needed good news.

In this article, we will discuss some of the key innovations in cell therapy manufacturing that have caught the industry’s attention in the last few weeks.

Cell Therapy Supply Chain

In one of our recent articles, we talked about the strategies that cell therapy companies can adopt to improve the supply chain. Some of the players, such as (illustrative list) Trakcel, Veeva, Be the Match BioTherapies have already deployed solutions efficiently manage and streamline various aspects of the complex supply chains of cell and advanced therapies. In fact, more than 160 innovative software-enabled systems have been developed for managing the cell and advanced therapies supply chain. The key supply chain challenges in cell therapies are:

  • Presence of multiple stakeholders
  • Operational inefficiencies
  • lack of real-time tracking

Also, across the social media platforms, there has been an immense rise in the popularity of the cell therapy supply chain solutions.

Cell Therapy Supply Chain Challenges

Last week, TrakCel, and Ori Biotech inked a non-exclusive strategic partnership to achieve supply chain coordination within closed-system manufacturing.

Earlier last year, Lonza announced a collaboration with Cryoport to Strengthens its vein-to-vein delivery network in cell therapy manufacturing. This partnership incorporated Cryoport’s Cryoportal® Logistics Management Platform, SmartPak II™ Condition Monitoring System and Cryoport’s unique Chain of Compliance™ for the regulatory solutions.

Vector Manufacturing

One industry that has benefitted the most with the rise of cell and gene therapies is the vector manufacturing space. As a result of the growing demand for such therapies, there has been a significant increase in demand for preclinical and clinical-grade gene delivery vectors.

One other trend that has been observed is the prominent role that the contract manufacturers (CMOs) have played. In fact, existing manufacturing concerns in this field have led many players to outsource vector to different CMOs. The recent deal signed between Lonza and Prevail Therapeutics for AAV based gene therapies is a perfect example of this. Here is a quick snapshot of various CMOs that offer vector manufacturing services.

Vector manufacturing service providers

Last month, we saw an investment of over €50 million by Gamma Biosciences to push to market Univercells’ manufacturing technology. The technology has been designed to reduce the costs of viral vector production for gene therapies. Several key opinion leaders have highlighted limited capacity and high cost as key concerns with vector manufacturing. In addition, the high vector manufacturing cost has also pushed several players to look beyond viral vectors.

Closed Automated Processing Platform

Lonza recently announced a partnership with three research institutes. It included the transfer of their preclinical immunotherapies to Lonza’s Cocoon™ closed automated processing platform. The collaborators include Stanford University School of Medicine, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. The Cocoon™ system is based on an automated GMP-in-a-box concept for patient-scale cell therapy manufacturing.

This was our take on the key innovations. Keen to know your thoughts on what other innovations that we may have missed.