Bristol Myers Squibb and Cellares Enter Into $380 Million Agreement for Technology to Manufacture CAR-T Cell Therapies

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Under the agreement, Bristol Myers Squibb will have access to Cellares’ fully automated cell therapy manufacturing platform, Cell Shuttle, to manufacture select CAR-T cell therapies.

On April 22, 2024, Bristol Myers Squibb and Cellares, a US-based integrated development and manufacturing organization (IDMO) specializing in cell therapy manufacturing, announced that they have entered into a worldwide capacity reservation and supply agreement for manufacturing chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T cell) therapies. The transaction is valued at up to $380 million in upfront and milestone payments.

Under the agreement, Cellares will optimize, automate, and tech-transfer select CAR-T cell therapies from Bristol Myers Squibb onto Cell Shuttle, Cellares’ automated and high-throughput cell therapy manufacturing platform. Cellares will dedicate multiple Cell Shuttle and Cell Q systems, including fully automated, high-throughput quality control, to Bristol Myers Squibb for exclusive use. These Cell Shuttles and Cell Q systems will be deployed in Cellares’ smart factories located in the United States, European Union, and Japan.

In a company press release, Bristol Myers Squibb stated that, “Manufacturing cell therapies is both operationally and technically complex. Because cell therapies are rapidly transforming the way many different diseases are treated, the demand for these treatments is increasing significantly.” The collaboration with Cellares enables Bristol Myers Squibb to expand manufacturing capacity to meet the demand required from its diverse range of cell therapies. Cellares provides a platform technology that is scalable and carries the potential to improve turnaround times, according to Bristol Myers Squibb in its press release.

“The agreement with Cellares is our latest step forward in support of our comprehensive strategy to unlock the full potential of CAR-T therapy to deliver transformative treatments to as many patients as possible, as quickly as possible,” said Lynelle B. Hoch, president, Cell Therapy Organization, Bristol Myers Squibb, in the press release. “Our collaboration with Cellares strengthens our existing internal manufacturing capabilities for CAR-T cell therapies by giving us access to the first end-to-end fully automated cell therapy manufacturing platform, to help ensure we meet the high demand for these differentiated treatments, now and in the future.”


This agreement builds on existing collaborations between Bristol Myers Squibb and Cellares. Bristol Myers Squibb participated in Series C financing in August 2023 to fund the launch of Cellares’ commercial-scale IDMO smart factory in Bridgewater, NJ, for cell therapy manufacturing, which, according to Cellares, is the first of its kind. The 118,000-ft2 smart factory is expected to be good manufacturing practice-ready in the second half of 2024. The facility is designed to integrate advanced robotics, purpose-built technology, and interconnected software and will be capable of producing 40,000 cell therapy batches per year (1). Also in August 2023, Bristol Myers Squibb joined Cellares’ Technology Adoption Partnership (TAP) Program to evaluate the Cell Shuttle’s automated manufacturing capabilities.

“This agreement with Bristol Myers Squibb is aligned with our strategy of establishing a global network of high-throughput, automated Smart Factories to meet the growing and worldwide demand for cell therapies,” said Fabian Gerlinghaus, CEO and co-founder of Cellares, in the company press release. “We look forward to demonstrating how our innovative technology’s emphasis on standardization will accelerate commercial-scale manufacturing and worldwide deployment. Our collaboration with Bristol Myers Squibb and our collective expertise furthers our mission to accelerate access to life-saving cell therapies for patients globally."

Gerlinghaus went into further detail about the development and analytical planning behind the company’s cell therapy manufacturing platform and the importance of automation to the manufacture of cell therapies in this video interview with BioPharm International® (2).


1. Mirasol, F. Bristol Myers Squibb Joins Cellares Program Focused on Automated Cell Therapy Manufacturing as Cellares is Launched as First IDMO., Aug. 31, 2023.
2. Spivey, C. Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts: The Cellares Cell Shuttle., March 21, 2024.

Source: Bristol Myers Squibb