Affigen and CCRM Announce Partnership to Develop Personalized Therapeutics
Sept. 29, 2017 (TORONTO and ST. LOUIS) — CCRM, a leader in the development and commercialization of regenerative medicine technologies, cell and gene therapies and Affigen, a biotechnology company that is developing therapeutics that target cell lineage-specific tumor proteins, are pleased to announce a new partnership that will advance the creation and commercialization of a closed platform for the production of individualized, tumor-identifying therapeutics for the treatment of a range of currently incurable cancers.
“Our mission at Affigen is to realize the full promise and potential of therapies that can target the molecules that make cancers unique, while sparing non-cancerous cells. We think this approach will ultimately prove essential to achieving safe, long-term remissions and cures,” says Carlos Santos, Ph.D., CEO of Affigen. “Our first tumor targets include B-cell lymphomas and leukemias — these cancer types have long been known to harbour proteins that are unique to these tumors, and that are nearly ideal targets for immunotherapy. The historical challenge with drugging these targets has been that they are genetically random from patient-to-patient, which makes manufacturing a particularly difficult challenge to overcome.”
Affigen has engaged CCRM to provide process development and optimization solutions in areas critical to the creation of a manufacturing platform that can produce single-patient batches of therapeutics in a clinically relevant timeframe and at a commercially viable scale and cost.
“CCRM is excited to support Affigen in advancing the manufacturing of this treatment approach for people living with B-cell lymphoma and leukemia,” says Michael May, Ph.D., President & CEO of CCRM. “This partnership is an example of how CCRM’s new facility and employees attract companies to our ecosystem, and the impact we can have in supporting the needs of industry to move discoveries into the hands of patients.”
“Our team has unique experience and expertise in developing closed, highly-automated platforms for single-patient-batch therapeutics. As we looked for a process development partner that could allow us to scale and to meet our aggressive requirements and timelines, it became clear that CCRM was the perfect fit,” continues Dr. Santos. “We are extraordinarily impressed with the scientific acumen and capabilities Dr. May and his team bring to bear, and we could not be more excited to be a CCRM launch partner.”
CCRM will be conducting the work in its 10,000 ft² (~930 m²) development facility in the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto. Work related to the project is scheduled to be complete in early-2019.
CCRM, a Canadian not-for-profit organization funded by the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario, and leading academic and industry partners, supports the development of regenerative medicines and associated enabling technologies, with a specific focus on cell and gene therapy. A network of researchers, leading companies, strategic investors and entrepreneurs, CCRM aims to accelerate the translation of scientific discovery into new companies and marketable products for patients, with specialized teams, funding, and infrastructure. CCRM is the commercialization partner of the Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the University of Toronto’s Medicine by Design. CCRM is hosted by the University of Toronto. Visit us at www.ccrm.ca.
Affigen (www.affigen.com) develops tumor-identifying therapeutics that target cell lineage-specific tumor proteins across a range of currently incurable cancers. The Company’s growing team houses deep expertise in immuno-oncology, mass-personalized biomolecular engineering and complex therapeutic development, and is working to deliver a new class of therapeutics that maximize both anti-tumor activity and safety in patients with critically unmet medical needs. Affigen is headquartered in the Cortex Innovation District in St. Louis, Missouri.