Cell Therapy Catapult to Develop Process for Asterias Biotherapeutics

October 13, 2015

Cell Therapy Catapult will provide manufacturing scale-up services to enable Asterias’ future clinical trials and commercial supply for Asterias’ allogeneic dendritic cell immunotherapy, AST-VAC2.

The United Kingdom’s Cell Therapy Catapult signed an agreement with Asterias Biotherapeutics Inc. to advance development of a large-scale manufacturing processes for AST-VAC2, Asterias’ allogeneic dendritic cell immunotherapy, the organization announced on Oct. 13, 2015. As a part of the agreement, Asterias will be opening a UK subsidiary. 

The Cell Therapy Catapult will streamline and scale manufacturing processes for Asterias’ AST-VAC2 and its forthcoming Phase II clinical trial targeting lung cancer. This support will enable advanced clinical trials and eventual commercialization of the immunotherapy product. AST-VAC2 is an allogeneic (non-patient specific) cancer vaccine designed to stimulate patient immune responses to telomerase, which is expressed in over 95% of human cancers but is rarely expressed in normal adult cells. AST-VAC2 is currently being developed towards in collaboration with Cancer Research UK.

Asterias selected the Cell Therapy Catapult because of its depth of expertise in cell therapy and the head start the Cell Therapy Catapult had on the challenge due to its own internal Cell Plasticity Platform Project, which is developing large-scale manufacturing processes for pluripotent cells.

Asterias' UK subsidiary will provide it with the ability to effectively collaborate with the Cell Therapy Catapult and other major partners in the UK. Asterias also will use the UK operation to play a crucial role in contributing to the development of the AST-VAC2 platform and maximizing its value.

“International partnerships are critical for the further development of the UK cell and gene therapy industry. The Cell Therapy Catapult has been instrumental in attracting Asterias, a leading US-quoted cell therapy company, to the UK,” said Keith Thompson, CEO of the Cell Therapy Catapult, in the press release. “This is an example of how our core platform projects, which aim to overcome major industry challenges, can be leveraged to promote growth of the UK industry.” 

Source: Cell Therapy Catapult