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The companies aim to assess automated CAR-T cell therapy manufacturing at the point-of-care and develop technologies to facilitate patient access to immunotherapies.
On March 18, 2019, Lonza and Sheba Medical Center at Tel HaShomer, a hospital in Israel and the Middle East region, announced a collaboration to develop point-of-care cell-therapy manufacturing using Lonza’s Cocoon manufacturing platform. The partnership will enable Sheba to significantly streamline its in-house cell manufacturing process and produce genetically engineered human chimeric antigen (CAR)-T cells for treating critically ill oncology patients.
The collaboration aims to deliver potentially curative therapies to a greater number of patients with advanced hematological malignancies. Sheba Medical Center has treated oncology patients using novel immunotherapy treatments such as CAR-T. Lonza will leverage its expertise in autologous cell-therapy process development to transfer Sheba’s current open, manual protocols into Lonza’s closed, automated Cocoon platform.
"Lonza’s Cocoon platform provides us the ability to manufacture cell therapies faster and closer to the point-of-care and in a scalable manner at lower cost so that we can treat more oncology patients who turn to us as a last resort," said Professor Dror Harats, MD, deputy director for research and development and director for clinical trials at Sheba Medical Center, in a company press release.
“This collaboration with Sheba Medical Center, a proven leader in point-of-care manufacturing and treatment of patients with novel immunotherapies, is a key part of the development program for the Cocoon platform. We aim to confirm the benefits of using our closed, automated GMP-in-a-box concept to more efficiently manufacture personalized cell therapies right where the patients are, enabling treatment of a larger patient population,” added Eytan Abraham, head of personalized medicine, Lonza Pharma Biotech & Nutrition, in the press release.