MaxCyte partners with Apeiron for siRNA immunotherapy

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Duncan Andison)
(Image: Getty/Duncan Andison)

Related tags MaxCyte Apeiron Biologics Maryland Biopharma hub

MaxCyte and Apeiron enter agreement for the use of engineering equipment for the development of a cell therapy.

The partnership sees Apeiron Biologics utilize MaxCyte’s flow electroporation technology and ‘ExPERT’ platform for APN401, a siRNA-based cell therapy.

Apeiron will gain non-exclusive clinical and commercial rights for the use of the technology, while MaxCyte will receive development milestones and sales-based payments, alongside licensing fees.

APN401 is a cell therapy that has completed Phase Ia and Phase Ib trials, with a Phase II study currently being planned, with the drug candidate being explored for the treatment of solid tumors.

The potential treatment is designed to silence Cbl-b mRNA in autologous peripheral blood mononuclear cells, with these cells being engineered and reinfused into the patient.

"Securing access to MaxCyte's ExPERT platform and unique electroporation technology is a crucial next step in the clinical advancement of our lead checkpoint inhibition Cbl-b candidate APN401,"​ said Peter Llewellyn-Davies, CEO of Apeiron.

According to MaxCyte, its flow electroporation technology is able to transfect cell lines with efficiencies above 90% for various cell types.

The Maryland-headquartered company has granted licenses to more than 100 cell therapy programs, for use of its technology, as well as entering 11 clinical and commercial license partnerships with cell and gene therapy-focused companies.

Maryland biohub

Apeiron is based in Vienna, Austria, but chose to work with MaxCyte that is located in Maryland, US. The state is rapidly becoming biopharma hub for those companies working in the advanced therapeutics space.

Last year, MaxCyte partnered with Kite Pharma​ for the use of its flow electroporation technology, representing a link up between two companies with a presence in the state.

Kite chose to purchase a 20-acre site​ in Frederik County to produce its cell therapies, with production at the location expected to begin in late 2021.

Kite is one of a number of companies that have made the move to Maryland, especially those companies, such as Catalent​, that are working to develop or provide services to the cell and gene space.

According to the state, there are currently 2,700 life science firms based within its borders – potentially driven by the cheaper cost of real estate compared to rival biohubs in San Francisco and Boston.

Maryland noted that the average rent was priced at $24.35 (€21.31) per square-foot in the state, compared to $47.39 in San Francisco and $49.61 in Boston.

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