CELL AND GENE THERAPY
CSL Plasma | August 08, 2022
CSL Plasma, the plasma collection business of global biotherapeutics leader CSL Behring, began a new era in plasma donations, collecting its first plasma donations using leading-edge plasma collection technology that is expected to significantly reduce average collection time – by approximately one-third – and improve the donor experience.
The Rika Plasma Donation System, only available at CSL Plasma and developed by Terumo Blood and Cell Technologies, is designed to reduce collection time, and improve the donor and operator experience. When considering prior average CSL Plasma donation procedure times, this could represent about a 30% reduction in average donation time for donors.
The new plasmapheresis system first launched today in the Aurora, Colorado, CSL Plasma location, as part of a phased rollout to CSL Plasma U.S. collection centers. Plasma collected at CSL Plasma facilities is used in the manufacturing of lifesaving plasma-derived therapies.
"Today marks a threshold moment for plasma donors following years of dedication, innovation and collaboration – demonstrating how we are driven by our promise in delivering lifesaving and life-extending therapies to patients around the world. We look forward to the positive impact this new technology brings and are thankful for plasma donors who continue to do the amazing every day when they donate at CSL Plasma."
CSL Chief Operating Officer Paul McKenzie
CSL Plasma believes features of the new Rika system can enable the collection of more plasma, in shorter periods of time, supporting quality and safety, and, ultimately, better serving patients who rely on plasma-based therapies.
One of the first plasma donors to experience the Rika system, Kelly Geiser is a resident of the Denver area. She has donated plasma since 2017, and is a Platinum level donor as part of CSL Plasma's donor loyalty program, iGive Rewards®.
Geiser appreciated that she was able to complete the donation procedure with the new technology in under 35 minutes and in the fastest donation time she has experienced, while every plasma donor's experience will vary. Donating plasma is also personal for Geiser, who says that therapies made from plasma have helped her and her family, including a parent who recently underwent emergency surgery.
"It feels good knowing I'm helping people and, who knows, I might've helped somebody I know," said Geiser.
According to Terumo BCT, benefits of the Rika Plasma Donation System include
Rika completes one plasma collection in 35 minutes or less on average. The proprietary design of the system's centrifuge maximizes the plasma yield per cycle.
The Rika Plasma Donation System was designed to allow no more than 200 milliliters of blood cells outside the donor's body, resulting in a low extracorporeal volume, which may contribute to a more comfortable donor experience.
With less than 200 milliliters of blood cells outside the donor's body at any given time, should the initial procedure not be completed, the donor can return and donate without being deferred.
The device is designed with an advanced user interface to guide CSL Plasma front-line employees. Operators can quickly and confidently resolve alarms, thanks to guidance provided on the Rika system's touchscreen, which also alerts operators about situations that require attention and provides suggested actions to resolve the situation. The system allows for real-time data analytics to drive device maintenance and repairs.
CSL Plasma is implementing the new devices at Colorado centers and then expanding to other U.S. locations, providing donors more opportunities to "do the amazing" and be rewarded for their generosity.
"As a long-time leader in our industry, CSL Plasma looks forward to this new plasmapheresis technology to delight our plasma donors and attract new donors while supporting a better operating experience for our employees," said Walter Charles, CSL Plasma Senior Vice President and General Manager. "As we complete the implementation of new technology at U.S. centers, we continue to address the critical and ongoing need for human plasma to produce life-saving medicines for people with serious and rare diseases."
About CSL Plasma
CSL Plasma operates one of the world's largest and most sophisticated plasma collection networks, with more than 300 plasma collection centers in the U.S., Europe and China. Headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, CSL Plasma is a subsidiary of CSL Behring, a global biotherapeutics company and a member of the CSL Group of companies. Plasma collected at CSL Plasma facilities is used by CSL Behring for the sole purpose of manufacturing lifesaving plasma-derived therapies for people in more than 100 countries. The parent company, CSL Limited headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, employs more than 25,000 people.
About CSL Behring
CSL Behring is a global biotherapeutics leader driven by our promise to save lives. Focused on serving patients' needs by using the latest technologies, we discover, develop and deliver innovative therapies for people living with conditions in the immunology, hematology, cardiovascular and metabolic, respiratory, and transplant therapeutic areas. We use three strategic scientific platforms of plasma fractionation, recombinant protein technology, and cell and gene therapy to support continued innovation and continually refine ways in which products can address unmet medical needs and help patients lead full lives.
AbCellera and Atlas Venture | August 04, 2022
AbCellera and Atlas Venture announced a multi-target partnership to discover therapeutic antibodies for up to three drug targets that can be developed and commercialized by a stealth-stage Atlas-backed company. The collaboration leverages Atlas’ proven track record in forming innovative biotechnology companies and AbCellera’s unique ability to quickly deliver lead drug candidates to bring transformational new medicines to patients faster.
"AbCellera’s clinically validated platform lets us start discovery in a virtualized model that aligns well with our capital efficient investment strategy. This partnership supports our approach to value creation by allowing us to focus on building companies that aim to deliver impactful medicines to patients.”
Steven Robinette, Ph.D., Venture Partner at Atlas Venture
“Atlas has proven expertise in finding and transforming innovative scientific research into exciting new biotechs,” said Carl Hansen, Ph.D., CEO and President of AbCellera. “By eliminating their need to build internal antibody discovery capabilities at inception, we provide newly launched biotech ventures with a competitive advantage that empowers them to move faster and increase their probability of success. We look forward to working alongside Atlas’ entrepreneurs to unlock their breakthrough science and create new therapies for patients in need.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Atlas’ portfolio company will have the right to develop and commercialize therapeutic antibodies resulting from the collaboration. AbCellera will receive research payments and will be eligible to receive clinical and commercial milestone payments and royalties on net sales of products.
About Atlas Venture
Atlas Venture is a leading biotech venture capital firm. With the goal of doing well by doing good, we have been building breakthrough biotech startups for over 25 years. We work side by side with exceptional scientists and entrepreneurs to translate high impact science into medicines for patients. Our seed-led venture creation strategy rigorously selects and focuses investment on the most compelling opportunities to build scalable businesses and realize value.
About AbCellera Biologics Inc.
AbCellera is a technology company that searches, decodes, and analyzes natural immune systems to find antibodies that its partners can develop into drugs to prevent and treat disease. AbCellera partners with drug developers of all sizes, from large pharmaceutical to small biotechnology companies, empowering them to move quickly, reduce cost, and tackle the toughest problems in drug development.
SYNTHEGO | August 03, 2022
Synthego, the genome engineering company, announced the launch of Engineered Cell Libraries, a novel offering that further enables access to CRISPR by providing arrayed CRISPR-edited cells for direct use in functional screening assays. The innovative solution leverages Synthego’s Eclipse™ Platform. This high-throughput cell engineering platform delivers cell-based models for disease research by providing highly predictable CRISPR-engineered cells at scale through the integration of engineering, bioinformatics, and proprietary science. Synthego’s Engineered Cell Libraries provide unparalleled speed, scalability, and efficiency to accelerate the drug discovery process by enabling a faster path between experimental design and execution.
As the newest addition to Synthego's Engineered Cells product line, the offering is a custom arrayed library of multi-guide™ knockout cell pools (immortalized or iPSC) delivered ready-made to researchers, efficiently enabling them to bypass the need for equipment and reagent sourcing, transfection, generation of an extensive CRISPR library, and hiring and training of staff. This allows researchers to overcome common hurdles associated with CRISPR-based target discovery and focus specifically on the science.
“Arrayed screening approaches are more sensitive, compatible with a broader assortment of downstream assays, and can yield data that is more readily interpretable than the more commonly used pooled approach but are underutilized due to lack of infrastructure and limited bandwidth. With Engineered Cell Libraries, Synthego continues to provide transformative solutions for accelerated drug discovery which ultimately can bring a wider range of therapeutics to market faster.”
Travis Maures, Synthego’s Chief Technology Officer
With Engineered Cell Libraries, scientists specify the human or mouse cell type (Immortalized or iPSC available at launch) and gene targets they desire to knockout to generate a custom “Knockout Cell Library.” The cells are then edited on Synthego’s Eclipse Platform, which handles guide design, cell line optimization, editing through transfection, and assessment of editing efficiencies, so cells are ready to screen upon arrival.
Engineered Cell Libraries on the Eclipse Platform additionally benefit customers with
Scalability and flexibility - Engineered Cell Libraries allow researchers to maximize their screening power and identify more targets earlier in the screening process.
Predictability and transparency - Synthego’s multi-guide™ technology achieves reliably high knockout efficiencies so researchers can confidently proceed with their screens.
Cell engineering expertise and support - Synthego uses its expertise to bring automation innovation that provides greater consistency in outcomes and scalability.
Synthego’s Eclipse Platform and Engineered Cell Libraries enable a wide range of applications in research and development across various disease areas and research disciplines such as oncology and neurology. Engineered Cell Libraries were employed in a recent study that used genetic screening to identify host factors that either facilitate or inhibit infection by SARS-CoV-2 and that could potentially be targeted with existing drugs that have been approved for other indications.
“We were able to quickly combine our proteomic expertise with Synthego's genome engineering capabilities in a matter of weeks,” said Nevan J. Krogan, Director, Quantitative Biosciences Institute, University of California, San Francisco. “Normally, work such as this would take many years. We were able to quickly pinpoint which human genes are important for infection, and that allowed us to jump to which ones if we were able to drug them, could have a positive pharmacological effect on SARS-CoV-2 infection. That whole pipeline allowed us to identify several potential drug candidates, several of which we're still looking at.”
Ultimately, Synthego’s goal is to enable scientists to spend less time thinking about method development and more time running their functional assays. The addition of Engineered Cell Libraries is driving impact in biopharma research and development.
Synthego was founded to revolutionize genome engineering technology, helping translate genomics into the clinic and ultimately making engineered biological therapies accessible to all patients. The company leverages machine learning, automation, and gene editing to build platforms for science at scale. With its foundations in engineering disciplines, the company’s platforms vertically integrate proprietary hardware, software, bioinformatics, chemistries, and molecular biology to advance both basic research and therapeutic development programs. With its technologies cited in more than a thousand peer-reviewed publications and utilized by thousands of commercial and academic researchers and therapeutic drug developers, Synthego is at the forefront of innovation enabling the next generation of medicines by delivering genome editing at an unprecedented scale.