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The acquisition will allow Lonza to further develop technology for scalable autologous cell-therapy manufacturing.
On Oct. 29, 2018, Lonza announced the acquisition of a controlling stake in Octane Biotech, a Canadian medical technology company, with the right to acquire full ownership of the company. The increase in equity share will allow Lonza to further develop technology that supports the need for scalable autologous cell-therapy manufacturing. Under the transaction, Octane Orthobiologics Inc. will maintain exclusivity to a certain subset of orthopedic clinical indications for use in the Cocoon system, a patient-scale, closed, and automated cell-therapy manufacturing system on which Lonza and Octane have been collaborating since 2015.
Following an intensive joint-development program, the Cocoon system now incorporates the majority of unit operations needed for scalable end-to-end manufacturing of cell therapies, including mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) and chimeric antigen receptor T cells (CAR-T cells), according to Lonza. The system’s flexible, disposable cassettes can be modified to accommodate a range of autologous cell therapy processes for adherent cells, non-adherent cells, and combination products.
The system also aims to address some of the key challenges facing autologous cell therapies as they reach the commercial stage, including variability in cell yields and the stringent regulations in place once products are registered. Automating autologous cell-therapy manufacturing in a closed system enables superior process control, leading to fewer deviations and higher cell quality, Lonza reports.
“This acquisition is a clear message to the market that we are committed to making commercially viable and scalable personalized therapies a reality,” said Marc Funk, COO of Lonza Pharma & Biotech, in a company press release. “We are looking to disruptive innovation, including automation, to enable our customers to bring these promising therapies to patients.”
“As continuing shareholders and directors of Octane Biotech, we welcome the expanded engagement of Lonza to significantly accelerate and reinforce the role of the Cocoon system as a game changer in the autologous cell-therapy manufacturing space. Since the inception of the company, the vision of our team has been to bring award-winning innovation to this sector, and we are confident that Lonza will excel in enabling these transformative therapies to reach more patients throughout the world,” added Timothy Smith, co-founder of Octane Biotech with Ian Grant, in the press release.
Octane Biotech’s 24 employees at the current site in Kingston, ON, Canada, will continue to support activities as the Cocoon system is further developed. In addition, the Lonza autologous cell therapy R&D group will maintain their complete support of Cocoon system-related activities from their Maryland R&D site.