Berkeley Lights looks to CAR-T manufacture after securing $95m investment

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Lovelyday12)
(Image: Getty/Lovelyday12)

Related tags Berkeley Lights Selexis CAR-T

This week Berkeley announced it had tied up a financing round and signed a cell line development deal with Selexis.

Berkeley Lights stated that raising $95m (€82m) would allow the company to finance solutions for cell therapy development and manufacture, particularly within the area of CAR-T and endogenous T-cells.

The Emeryville, US-based company’s principal offering is the Beacon digital cell biology platform, which has attracted the interest of a number of large pharma companies, such as Sanofi​ and Bayer​.

“The funding will go towards advancing the Beacon platform to provide customers a variety of solutions for their large molecule manufacturing processes,” ​CEO Eric Hobbs told us.

“Some of our customers are already using the platform to validate and characterise cell lines for use in the manufacturing of existing drugs and others are using it in very early stages to discover and develop antibodies for conventionally difficult-to-target antigens,” ​he added.

Hobbs also mentioned that the funding would see the company further its technology in the autologous cell therapy space, including the development and manufacture of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies.

According to Hobbs, a major challenge with such technology is the standardisation of development processes.

“The Berkeley Lights technology is uniquely designed to isolate, assay, monitor, and retrieve live cells all in one workflow. This addresses the challenges facing manufacturing of cell therapeutics, such as CAR-T, by producing rich data sets that allow scientists to characterise and select the most optimal cells,” ​said Hobbs.

A fresh partnership

The same week that it announced the new investment, Berkeley Lights also announced that it would add another partnership deal.

Selexis has confirmed that it will use Beacon technology, alongside its own SUREtechnology ​platform, to improve its cell line development.

Selexis’ own platform generates a research cell bank in a timeframe of 14 weeks, but stated that it expects, to be able to reduce this by several weeks with the aid of Berkeley Lights’ technology.

“This optofluidic technology helps us continually improve and accelerate cell line development. Our client partners consider every month of lead time ahead of a competitor to be a significant advantage”, ​said Selexis CEO, Igor Fisch.

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