SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO — Cellares Corporation, a life sciences technology company that automates cell therapy manufacturing, has secured $82 million in a Series B round, bringing total funding to date to $100 million. The round was led by new investor Decheng Capital and co-led by existing investor Eclipse Ventures. Skyviews Life Science joined as a new investor, with previous investor 8VC also participating.
This latest funding will accelerate development of the Cell Shuttle, Cellares’ scalable factory-in-a-box. The Cell Shuttle enables end-to-end automation of the labor- and time-intensive process of creating highly-individualized cell therapies, including CAR-T therapies currently used to treat blood cancers by modifying and growing cells from the patient’s own immune system to attack cancer cells. Cellares’ single platform allows pre-clinical development to easily transfer to the clinical environment – saving years compared with traditional manufacturing methods – and enables quick and efficient commercial scalability.
“There are more than 450,000 patients today who could potentially benefit from CAR-T cell therapies, a number expected to grow into the millions in a few years’ time.1 Less than 1% of these patients are able to get access to these therapies, due to a lack of scalable cell manufacturing technologies,” said Fabian Gerlinghaus, co-founder and CEO of Cellares. “This latest round is validation of the work Cellares is doing to become the automated, high-throughput solution with the flexibility and customization necessary to overcome the biggest obstacles in cell therapy manufacturing today.”
The Cell Shuttle is a modular and automated solution comprising hardware, software, robotics and consumables and it is capable of producing 10 patient doses simultaneously. It is the first and only platform to achieve an order of magnitude improvement in instrument throughput, which enables biopharmaceutical companies to meet commercial scale patient demand. The Cell Shuttle’s automated, high throughput capabilities also lower costs by up to 75%, shorten the time between apheresis and product delivery – known as vein-to-vein time – and accelerate time to market by as much as 1-2 years, thanks to a single-platform approach.
“While cell therapies for blood cancers have seen tremendous scientific advances at a breakneck pace, the delivery of these life-saving therapies have encountered significant bottlenecks due to manual manufacturing processes. The Cellares Cell Shuttle is a highly anticipated solution that empowers drug developers to scale out to meet a growing patient demand for cell therapies,” said world-renowned cancer cell therapy pioneer Dr. Carl June, recent recipient of the Sanford Lorraine Cross Award for his groundbreaking work in developing CAR-T cell therapy, Cellares Advisory Board Member, and Professor in Immunotherapy and director for the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies at the University of Pennsylvania.