NewsTerumo Blood and Cell Technologies partners with CiRA Foundation to develop automated iPS cell manufacturing

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  • iPS cell manufacturing organization researchers to integrate Terumo Blood and Cell Technologies' Quantum Flex, expertise through collaboration.

  • Partners work to establish an automated and closed approach for efficient cultivation and manufacture of iPS-derived cells, a key hurdle for the next generation of cell-based therapies.

Terumo Blood and Cell Technologies (Terumo BCT), a medical technology company, and CiRA Foundation, a public interest organization for the transfer of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to industry, today announced a partnership designed to propel the broad use of iPS cells for a range of new therapies. By leveraging CiRA Foundation's leading iPS cell knowledge and Terumo BCT's enabling technologies and cell therapy manufacturing know-how, the companies seek to develop an automated and clinically relevant workflow for iPS cell-derived therapies, a potential turning point for the cell and gene therapy (CGT) field.

iPS cells hold enormous potential for cell-based therapies, as they can be an unlimited source of starting material and can be reprogrammed to nearly any functional cell type, such as neuron cells, cardiac muscle, and blood cells. However, the lack of scalability to produce sufficient cells for clinical doses currently impedes progress into clinical applications, since these complex protocols require expert handling and precise control over weeks or months. To solve these issues, the CiRA Foundation is working on a project titled "my iPS Project," in which Terumo BCT is participating.

Together, the organizations aim to create a closed, automated, integrated process that can consistently produce high-quality iPS and iPS-derived cells at scale on Terumo BCT's Quantum Flex™ Cell Expansion System. The companies will further increase manufacturing efficiency and control using digital technology. Terumo BCT will share expertise with CiRA Foundation scientists as they automate manual processes to expand and differentiate iPS cells. The goals are to make iPS cell manufacturing clinically viable, accessible and cost-effective and, ultimately, to help expedite clinical uptake of iPS cell-derived therapies.

"This partnership represents an incredible opportunity to broaden the future of cell-based therapeutics, blending the world-leading iPS cell knowledge of CiRA Foundation researchers with our automation and cell expansion expertise and technology," said Veerle d'Haenens, General Manager, Global Cell Therapy Technologies and Therapeutic Systems at Terumo BCT. "We are honored to work with pioneers in the space toward a goal with such a great potential impact. It reflects our commitment to raise standards in cell therapy, a growing pillar of healthcare."

"Collaboration has always underpinned our approach to bridging the gap between basic iPS cell research and commercial therapeutic development," said Masayoshi Tsukahara Ph.D., CiRA Foundation's Executive Director, Head of the Research and Development Center.
"Terumo BCT will have a dedicated scientist co-located with us to accelerate the project, helping translate manual, flask-based processes into robust automated protocols. We look forward to sharing the results of our work in the coming years."


The CiRA Foundation
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