Optima Teams Up with Clinics to Develop Production Unit for CAR-T Cell Therapies

Optima has teamed up with the Robert-Bosch-Krankenhaus and Heidelberg University to develop a unit for decentralized, automated production of CAR-T cell therapies.

Optima, a Germany-based special machine manufacturer, announced on June 10, 2021 that its Pharma Division has partnered with the Robert-Bosch-Krankenhaus (RBK), a charitable hospital in Stuttgart, Germany, and the Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg (UKHD) to develop a unit for decentralized, automated production of chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) cell therapies under the ProCell for Patient project, a collaboration launched by the three organizations in late 2020.

The ProCell for Patient system prototype is scheduled to be installed at the RBK in the summer of 2022 and is expected to cut the amount of work needed to manufacture CAR-T cell therapies in half, Optima stated in a company press release. The manufacturing system should deliver benefits in terms of quality, cost, and time, according to Optima.

As part of a forerunner project with Charité Hospital in Berlin, Optima Pharma has already taken the first steps toward developing a suitable production unit. Roll-out to additional treatment centers and pharmaceutical contract developers and manufacturers is planned once testing and clinical trials have been completed. Clinics that are involved in decentralized manufacturing can also contribute in the future to optimizing and developing new cell therapies, the company said in its press release.

"The automation of CAR-T cell therapy production is long overdue. Not just for reasons of cost and quality. In the future, it will facilitate the innovation process," said Walter E. Aulitzky, chief physician of the Department of Oncology, Hematology, and Palliative Medicine at the RBK, in the press release.

"With the help of the ProCell for Patient system, it will probably be possible to reduce the amount of work, i.e., the number of hours that qualified staff today are spending on producing CAR-T cells, by at least 50 percent," said Andrea Traube, director, Market Development Pharma, Optima Pharma, in the press release.

The project is funded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Housing Baden-Württemberg as part of the "Forum Health Region Baden-Württemberg" initiative.

Source: Optima