Sarcura: Can deep tech be utilized to enhance cell therapy manufacturing?

By Isabel Cameron

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

Related tags Cell therapy Cell therapy manufacturing cell and gene therapy Technology Manufacturing

Austian start-up Sarcura has secured a €1.7 million grant to help the company develop a ‘miniaturized and autonomous’ cell therapy manufacturing platform using deep tech.

Cell therapy is a very promising treatment, which has the potential to treat cancer and other severe diseases. However, the manufacturing of patient-derived cell therapies remains a wide-ranging and formidable challenge for the industry.

According to Sarcura, only 3% of eligible patients currently have access to these treatments, as concerns around quality and scalability contribute to substantial therapeutic costs.

“Imagine the entire clean room manufacturing suite, along with the analytics lab, shrunk to the size of a suitcase, enabling the autonomous processing of thousands of CAR-T therapies. This marks the new era of cell therapy manufacturing that Sarcura aims to build, with continuous support from FFG, our investors and advisors, and our exceptional team,” Sarcura CEO and co-founder Daniela Buchmayr said.

"While automating manual manufacturing in the CGT industry is a logical and crucial next step, it will only yield incremental improvements as long as automation relies on a room-sized cleanroom footprint and separate analytical labs. The crucial missing elements are control intelligence and miniaturization."

Sarcura will leverage this new funding, granted from FFG, the Austrian Research Promotion Agency, to advance the development of its SiPlex Prototype, a chip that integrates multiple cell sorting structures employing silicon photonic technology on the size of a stamp.

Transitioning from operator control to machine-generated real-time analytics will evolve automation into machine autonomy, as proven in other industries, Sarcura argues.

The company is attempting to drive this change by utilizing silicon chip technology to develop specialized microfluidic cartridges tailored for the unique processing and control requirements of cell therapy manufacturing.

“Big problems require completely novel, bold solutions. At Sarcura, we refuse to settle for incremental change. Pioneering at the intersection of technologies, as we do by integrating semiconductor technologies into cell therapy manufacturing, means fundamentally challenging the status quo, but this is necessary to bring life-saving cell therapies to all eligible patients," Buchmayr added.

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