Kite to Evaluate Cellares’ Manufacturing Platform for Wider Use

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No timetable was given for the length of the planned evaluation or when data would be available, but Kite intends to use the information to expand its manufacturing options.

Cellares announced on June 27, 2024 that it has entered into an agreement with Kite, a Gilead Company, to evaluate the Cell Shuttle, Cellares’ automated manufacturing platform. A press release from Cellares said that the proof-of-concept evaluation, and the data generated from it, would be used to assess how viable the Cell Shuttle would be for Kite to employ as a manufacturing option (1).

According to Cellares, the Cell Shuttle integrates technologies required for drug manufacturing “in a flexible and high-throughput platform” that is automated end-to-end, or “walk-away” (1). The company has what it calls “Smart Factories,” at its South San Francisco, Calif. headquarters and a commercial-scale facility in Bridgewater, NJ, and plans to use Cell Shuttles at other Smart Factories around the world to help meet patient demand for cell therapies.

“This agreement with Kite allows the unique capabilities of our Cell Shuttle platform to be potentially utilized by Kite in the future and reinforces Cellares’ position as a cell therapy manufacturer with advanced automated technology,” said Fabian Gerlinghaus, Cellares co-founder and CEO, in the press release. “We aim to fully automate all cell therapy manufacturing processes, moving us closer to delivering CAR [chimeric antigen receptor] T-cell therapies for a wide range of autoimmune diseases and cancers. We are honored to work with an industry leader such as Kite, that already is serving patients worldwide with two commercially approved cell therapies.”

“Given that manufacturing is central to how we deliver CAR T-cell therapies to physicians and patients, we are always assessing what technologies could further enhance our best-in-class manufacturing capabilities,” Kite senior vice president and global head of technical operations Chris McDonald said, also in the press release. “We welcome this opportunity to evaluate Cellares’ automation production platform for how it potentially could help us reach even more patients with our next-generation therapies.”


Kite, a subsidiary of Gilead, has headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif., and the focus of its business is cell therapy to treat and cure cancer, specifically using a patient’s own white blood cells to target and attack their cancer cells (2). Cellares describes itself as the first integrated development and manufacturing organization devoted to cell therapy manufacturing both at the clinical level and on an industrial scale, adding that its partners in research, industry, and academia benefit from accelerated development, and lower failure rates and manufacturing costs (1).

No specific timeframe was given for the expected length of Kite’s evaluation or when data from it might be known. Cellares said the pact with Kite follows a $380 million supply agreement reached with Bristol Myers Squibb in May 2024, and other recently announced partnerships with Cabalette Bio and Lyell Immunopharma (3).


1. Cellares. Cellares Announces Agreement with Kite to Evaluate Its Cell Shuttle Automated Manufacturing Platform. Press Release. June 27, 2024.
2. Gilead Sciences. Transformational Cancer Treatment | Kite Pharma. (accessed June 27, 2024).
3. Comment received via email correspondence on June 27, 2024.