The California-headquartered company says the early investment in manufacturing capabilities will help accelerate clinical trials as well as develop internal expertise in manufacturing: ultimately shortening the time needed to advance its innovations from laboratory to patients.
CytoImmune is leveraging proprietary, robust and well characterized natural killer (NK) cell expansion and engineering technologies to advance its tumor-reactive NK (TRACK-NK) cell therapies for patients with cancer.
The cells are engineered to directly attack cancer cells and broadly stimulate both the innate and adaptive arms of the human immune system through the potent release of interleukin 15, enabling robust and specific tumor killing.
Local scientific capabilities lauded
The CytoImmune clinical cell manufacturing facility in Toa Baja is custom designed to support all manufacturing needs for the cell therapies, according to José Eduardo Vidal, chief operating officer.
“We chose Puerto Rico to develop and manufacture these innovative cancer treatments based on the significant scientific capabilities of our local talent and the decades of experience on the island in biopharmaceutical manufacturing," he said.
"Our goal is to create cellular immunotherapies for patients to recognize and kill cancer cells. The work by the company here holds the potential to positively impact patients around the world."
The opening of the new facility was attended by governor of Puerto Rico, Pedro Pierluisi; secretary of economic development and commerce, Manuel Cidre; and the mayor of the municipality, Bernardo Márquez.
“Just over a year ago we announced the establishment of Cytolmmune Therapeutics Puerto Rico and today we are glad to be witnesses of its opening in Toa Baja,” said Cidre.
“This operation will be the first on the island whose purpose is to conduct research, development and manufacturing in the 37,000 square-foot facility. A main part of our economic development strategy relies on innovation in the biopharmaceutical sector, where research and development are in the front line.”