TTP spins-out Cellular Origins to tackle CGT scalability

Independent technology and product development company TTP  announced the launch of spin-out company Cellular Origins during Advanced Therapies Week in Miami, Florida.

TTP launched Cellular Origins to develop a commercial manufacturing platform that will enable biopharmaceutical companies to increase scale dramatically for advanced cell and gene therapy (CGT) production, addressing the difficulties that developers have in meeting manufacturing demand.

Matthew Carr, head of life sciences at TTP, said, “We have every confidence that Cellular Origins will deliver on its mission to address the urgent need for scalable, cost-effective and efficient manufacture of cell and gene therapies, enabling more patients to benefit from the latest advances in cell therapy.”

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BioProcess Insider spoke to Cellular Origins’ chief executive officer (CEO) Edwin Stone, who said while Cellular Origins has an internal timeline for launching its platform, it is not yet ready to divulge that information to the public. Nevertheless, the company is speaking with other organizations about implementing the new platform and is engaged in discussions throughout Advanced Therapies Week.

Stone said he was driven to work in cell therapies both from a fascination in the technical aspect of the work, and because of the “transformational impact it can have on patients.” He said a large number of therapies in Phases II and III will soon be approved by regulatory agencies without a way to get them to patients, which could in turn hurt investment in the industry.

Chief technology officer (CTO) Dan Strange told BioProcess Insider he began work on his first cell-therapy project a few years ago. He realized that despite the diversity in therapies, tools, and technologies, a delivery gap remained for many drug therapies. “There wasn’t a great way to bring those to scale,” he said. “If you develop an end-to-end system, you’re going to develop for processes and there’s going to be a time lag where the automation continues to play catch-up, and therapies don’t reach patients as quickly as they could. Cellular Origins was born out of the desire to break that model.”

He added the new platform gives developers process flexibility, along with the ability to integrate familiar tools and workflows with future process innovation. In an evaluation of a manufacturing site, Strange said “they estimate they could have done maybe 300 batches a year using a manual or semi-automated process. We’ve looked how we can do 10,000 per year.”

Stone acknowledged that the magnitude of scale improvement promised by Cellular Origins may be met with skepticism by people who consider it to be overly ambitious. But he said, “What’s absurd is what we’re doing today. It’s today that’s wrong, not the future. The future is achievable.”