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AVECTAS Leads EUR7.23 million Consortium Awarded Part Funding From Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund

Dublin (ots/PRNewswire)

Funding to develop high throughput cell engineering technology to manufacture 'off the shelf' cell therapies.

Project, led by Avectas in partnership with Bluebridge Technologies and National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT), would support Ireland's goal of being at the forefront of cell therapy manufacturing.

Irish cell engineering company, Avectas, is leading a consortium which will invest EUR7.23 million, including EUR4.4 million awarded under the Irish Government's Disruptive Technology Innovation Fund (DTIF), to develop a high-throughput scale of its proprietary cell engineering platform Solupore®. With consortium partners Bluebridge Technologies and NIBRT, the project expands Avectas' development towards commercialising an advanced large-scale, digitalised cell engineering platform optimised to manufacture 'off-the-shelf' cell-based therapies for cancer treatment.

The Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund (DTIF) is a EUR500 million fund established under Project Ireland 2040 and run by the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment with support from Enterprise Ireland.

Headquartered in Ireland, with locations in Toronto, Canada and Cambridge, USA, Avectas collaborates with leading cell therapy businesses and research institutes to address their cell engineering challenges using its patented Solupore technology. Cell therapy is a rapidly evolving therapeutic approach for cancer. Immune cells are taken from donors, engineered to make them more effective and then administered to patients. This award will allow Avectas to expand its Solupore platform to manufacture next-generation allogeneic products that can be produced at scale for large numbers of patients.

Bluebridge Technologies will develop a digitalisation dimension for the platform through the project. They will design, build and test software components to underpin the manufacturing technology, highlighting the convergence of cell therapy manufacturing and digitalisation. NIBRT will test and validate the platform in the context of an end-to-end manufacturing process and will facilitate technology adoption by situating the Solupore platform at their world-class facilities. All parties will work synergistically to disrupt the manufacture and delivery of cell-based therapeutics to patients.

Avectas has previously won significant award support from the European Union (under the Horizon 2020 programme). The company is engaged in work programmes with several therapeutic companies and leading academic laboratories, including The Simon Laboratory at UC Davis, California, the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM) in Toronto and the new NK Cell Centre of Excellence at Karolinska Institute, Sweden.

Speaking today, Dr. Michael Maguire, CEO of Avectas, remarked, "cell-based therapies offer the extraordinary potential for the treatment of cancers, and we believe that our Solupore Platform will disrupt the current cell therapy manufacturing process and help make Ireland a world centre for this developing area". Prof. Niall Barron commented, 'NIBRT is delighted to be involved in this exciting DTIF-funded project which will accelerate the development of transformative technology for manufacturing revolutionary new therapies which go beyond being just treatments and in many cases actually cure patients. This project is a perfect example of the innovation and ambition that exists in Ireland to be at the forefront of this exciting new field".

Garret Coady, CEO of Bluebridge Technologies, added, "BlueBridge Technologies is delighted to be part of this project, which will showcase the power and promise of digital technologies that have the potential, not only to enable the delivery of novel therapies but to do so viably, at scale."

Dr. Maguire thanked the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment for their support: "This is expensive but hugely valuable work which could not exist without the support of the Department and the DTIF. We are grateful for that support."

Editor's Note:

About Avectas

Avectas is a cell engineering company that has pioneered - Solupore - a proprietary, simple, highly effective automated non-viral cell engineering system to enable efficient and safe genetic modification, accelerating the manufacture of cells for the next generation of immuno-oncology therapies.

The company is partnering its cGMP aligned Solupore clinical-grade system with cell therapy companies to address emerging cell delivery challenges associated with multiple cell modifications and engineering of limited or fragile cells. Additionally, it will provide regulatory support to partners. Avectas is a private, international company with research facilities in Dublin, Ireland and Toronto, Canada, and an office in Cambridge MA, USA. It has over 30 employees, led by a team of highly experienced pharmaceutical executives supported by a world-class Scientific Advisory Board of cancer cell therapy experts.

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About BlueBridge Technologies

BlueBridge Technologies specialises in safety-critical, connected-health technology, developing hardware and software solutions for the biopharma and med-tech sectors, serving clients such as Novartis, Johnson & Johnson, Roche and Medtronic.

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The National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) is a global centre of excellence for training and research in biopharmaceutical manufacturing. NIBRT operates in a world-class facility in Dublin, Ireland. This facility is purpose-built to closely replicate a modern bioprocessing plant with state-of-the-art equipment and enables NIBRT to offer the highest quality training and research solutions. NIBRT's mission is to support the growth and development of all aspects of the biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry.

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