TxCell SA has announced the launch of, and funding awarded to, the POSITIVE project in collaboration with the Gene and Cell therapy Unit (UTCG) developing new antiviral cell-based immunotherapies and Biosafe, a Swiss private company, a developer of innovative solutions for cell processing.
The POSITVE project will focus on the development and establishment of a procedure to automate the first step of manufacturing of Ovasave®, TxCell’s lead innovative, personalized cellular immunotherapy for severe refractory Crohn’s disease patients. Biosafe’s Sepax system will enable the automated and standardized separation of mononuclear white blood cells for the production of cellular immunotherapy.
This collaborative project, accredited by the French competitive cluster Eurobiomed, is supported by APRF funding (Appel à Projet Recherche Finalisée), from the Conseil Régional Provence-Alpes-Côte-D’azur. The grant totals EUR 417,000, of which TxCell will receive a grant of EUR 250,000 and UTCG will receive EUR 167,000.
Both grants will be for the performance of experiments by TxCell and UTCG and the optimization of the resulting new automated and standardized procedure. Biosafe will also utilize its Sepax technology expertise and know-how to optimize the dedicated software and protocol.
“Participating in the POSITVE project, and automating the TxCell manufacturing process for Ovasave is very important to us following the partnership with Ferring announced earlier this year with a potential value of EUR 76 million plus royalties,” said Damian Marron, CEO, TxCell. “Working with our highly qualified partners from UTCG and Biosafe, and backed by the Conseil Régional Provence-Alpes-Côte-D’azur, Ovasave will be able to pave the way for scale up, industrialization and commercialization of cellular immunotherapies for TxCell, other biotech companies and public institutions. This is the next step following the announcement of our certification of GMP by the ANSM.”
The process developed by the POSITIVE project will be applicable to a wide range of other cellular immunotherapies, allowing to overcome the constraints of manual methods and to move towards standardized large scale manufacturing in closed systems.
“The industrialization of cellular immunotherapies is crucial for those operating in the sector as well as for TxCell,” said Eric Pottier, VP Supply Chain at TxCell. “New industrial tools are needed to enable commercial scale manufacturing. This could make cellular immunotherapies available to the large number of patients with a variety of conditions with unmet medical need that are waiting for innovative therapeutic options.”