Lonza adds magnetic cell selection to Cocoon platform

Lonza has expanded its Cocoon platform functionality by adding capabilities in cell separation, cell binding, and bead removal.

The Cocoon platform is a single system that can be used for a wide-range of different autologous cell therapy protocols, with each patient batch produced in a single disposable cassette customized to their specific process.

The platform was developed by Octane Biotech with help from Swiss contract development manufacturing organization (CDMO) Lonza, which has worked with the firm since 2015.

Image: Stock Photo Secrets

In October 2018 Lonza acquired a controlling stake (80%) in the company and described the tech at the time as a “game changer” in the autologous cell therapy space.

Now, the CDMO says the expanded functionalities will “further strengthen” the Cocoon platform’s role in the commercialization of cell therapies, as well as bringing discoveries into the clinic.

Magnetic cell separation is a technique that enables the selection of specific cell types from cell suspensions and intricate matrices.

“The concept of magnetic cell selection consists of targeting specific cell types within a sample and binding them to antibodies that are cross-linked to magnetic particles. The magnetized target cells are retained when placed within a magnetic field, while non-labelled cells flow freely through,” Tamara Laskowski, head of clinical development, Personalized Medicine at Lonza told us.

“In the Cocoon Platform, the magnetic array is located within the environmental unit, and is only employed during the selection step. A corresponding fluidics pathway in the rear of the cassette and directly adjacent to the magnetic array provides a reusable circuit wherein labelled cells are retained.”

The magnetic selection capability can be used during any stage of the cell therapy manufacturing process. In turn, the firm claims this provides a high level of customization, consistency, and increases end-to-end solution for cell therapy production.

“The inclusion of magnetic cell selection allows the Cocoon® Platform to enable complex manufacturing processes while providing flexibility in reagents and application programming,” said Laskowski.

She continued: “Traditionally, magnetic cell selection has been completed in a semi-automated or automated manner with a rigid ecosystem of reagents and inflexible protocols. The Cocoon Platform is designed to work with magnetic reagents from different vendors, allowing users to mitigate their supply chain risk and move away from sole-sourced products. The Cocoon Platform also allows users to create, edit, and optimize their own process protocols with its flexible programming suite. This enables groups to develop processes that are tailored for their specific needs quickly and efficiently. By providing this functionality in-line within the consumable cassette, we can facilitate the reduction of hands-on time for operators and help drive down the cost of manufacturing these therapies.”

The capability is being launched this month and will be available in Lonza’s magnetic selection cassettes.