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This project, funded by Gebert Rüf Stiftung, is supported by the following project partners: Laboratory of Stem Cell Engineering, EPFL; Brain Tumor and Immune Cell Engineering Group, UNIGE; Institute of Industrial Automation, HEIG-VD.
Project no: GRS-120/20
Amount of funding: CHF 149'998
Duration: 04.2021 - 06.2022
Area of activity:
InnoBooster, seit 2018
PhD Yann Pierson
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
EPFL SV IBI-SV UPLUT
1015 Lausanne (Schweiz)
- yann.pierson@epfl. ch
Cell and gene therapies (CGT) represent a revolution in personalised medicine. These ‘living drugs’ leverage the latest innovation in genetic engineering, and most advanced knowledge in immunology, leading to spectacular results in patients suffering from a variety of conditions. CAR T-cells are the most advanced CGT products and have the ability to cure cancer patients in a single dose. Over 1500 such cell-based therapies are currently in clinical trials, with the potential to save the lives of more than 3 million people annually. Unfortunately, most of these patients do not benefit, because at the moment, the entire industry only has the capacity to produce a few thousands doses each year. Industrial production of CAR T cell therapies relies on a tedious manual process that is, at least partly, responsible for prohibitive costs, typically half a million Swiss francs per patient. The widening range of indications and the resulting rapid increase in demand for clinical-grade cell products represent challenges that existing manufacturing processes and supply chain cannot address. Compact, closed and automated production units located directly at the hospitals represent a promising solution to unlock the transformative potential of these revolutionary treatments.
What is special about the project?
Our platform technology has the potential to catalyse the transition towards the widespread adoption of ex vivo gene edited cell therapies, such as CAR T cell therapies, and radically broaden the accessibility of these highly personalised cancer treatments. With our unique and innovative solution, we aim to increase overall safety and reproducibility of the manufacturing process by automating unnecessary manual steps; to remove the need for large sterile facilities that are expensive to build and maintain, and for long-distance cryogenic transport of fragile human samples; to lower the number of human operators and, as a consequence, significantly decrease the associated costs.
With this project, we want to better understand user requirement specifications and leverage the expertise of key opinion leaders in the CGT industry in order to develop additional critical functionalities that currently not included in the development roadmap of our platform technology. This will allow meeting the needs of our future customers.
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Persons involved in the project
Last update to this project presentation 29.07.2021