Poseida joins Cellares’ early-access cell therapy tech program

Cellares Corporation has added a third firm to its early-stage partnership program, giving Poseida Therapeutics access to its closed and automated cell therapy manufacturing platform.

Californian firm Cellares is looking to overcome limitations in current advanced therapy manufacturing through the development of its manufacturing platform, the Cell Shuttle.

The Cell Shuttle is a modular and automated solution comprising hardware, software, robotics and consumables and according to the firm is capable of producing 10 patient doses simultaneously.

Image: iStock/Olivier Le Moal

Since 2020, the firm has been offering cell therapy manufactures access to the system through its Early Access Partnership Program (EAPP), and has today announced Poseida Therapeutics as the third participant – PACT Pharma and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center being already on board.

“As the name suggests, specifically partners gain early access to the technology – essentially securing their place at the front of the line when the Cell Shuttle is launched,” Fabian Gerlinghaus, CEO and co-founder of Cellares told Bioprocess Insider.

“Additionally, they gain visibility into the approach Cellares is taking to deliver on the promise of true end-to-end automation. Additionally, the partners share detailed documentation of their processes with Cellares and participate in user studies for both software and hardware. This collaborative approach helps Cellares ensure product-market fit, and gives the partners the opportunity to provide feedback on the direction of our development.”

Poseida, which has two autologous CAR-T candidates in the clinic and allogeneic versions of both therapies in development, will evaluate the Cell Shuttle prototypes and provide data and written feedback relevant to its function and performance.

Cellares itself raised $82 million in a Series B funding round earlier this year.

Cell and gene partnering

Poseida will likely be the last partner to join the EAPP as Gerlinghaus said Cellares is in the process of wrapping up the program. However, partnerships will continue to drive the company as well as the wider cell and gene therapy industry, he said.

“We are now turning our attention to forward-looking partnerships focused on technology adoption in the clinic. We are currently engaging with top-tier institutions and organizations looking to implement automation and innovative manufacturing approaches across their therapeutic pipeline.”

He added: “The cell and gene therapy industry has yearned for increased collaboration particularly when it comes to the introduction of innovative tools and approaches to cell therapy manufacturing.

“When a manufacturing process is dependent on stringing together tools and technologies from multiple vendors that were perhaps never designed for cell therapy manufacturing, any collaboration was welcomed and in some cases mandatory to process development and optimization.”

Gerlinghaus continued, stressing that partnering in this field helps to expedite innovation, ultimately bringing more options to more patients, faster and at lower costs.

“Partnering with CDMOs has historically been the approach in cell and gene therapy as early developers didn’t have the financial capacity to make significant investments in their own facilities and then hire and train a large team.

“We believe that our technology will provide the option to manufacture in-house at a significantly lower level of investment due to reduced headcount and cleanroom requirements.”

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