A feather in CEVEC’s CAP

CARISMA receives full rights for use of CEVEC’s CAP technology in anti-tumor cell therapies

February 2, 2021
Mel J. Yeates

COLOGNE, Germany & PHILADELPHIA—CEVEC Pharmaceuticals GmbH has signed an agreement with CARISMA Therapeutics Inc., which grants CARISMA a clinical and commercial license for CEVEC’s proprietary CAP technology for the manufacturing of replication-competent adenovirus (RCA)-free adenovirus vectors for use in anti-tumor cell therapies.

“We are excited to have signed this new license agreement with CARISMA, enabling them to use our CAP technology to safely manufacture adenoviral vectors for their engineered monocyte and macrophage platforms,” noted Dr. Nicole Faust, CEO of CEVEC. “Having a platform capable of producing RCA-free adenoviral vectors is crucially important for adenovirus-based therapies. We look forward to strengthening our successful collaboration with CARISMA over the next years, by providing a key element for their innovative cell therapy concept, [and] helping them to bring the power of cellular immunotherapy to potentially treat patients with hard-to-treat cancers.” 

Recombinant adenoviral vectors (AdV) were among the first vectors for gene therapy purposes, and they have become an important vehicle for vaccines and human gene therapies. Many cell lines used for production of AdV generate certain levels of RCAs, but the presence of RCAs in AdV preparations intended for use in humans is considered to be a potential risk — especially for immuno-compromised patients. The CAP cell line has been specifically designed for RCA-free production of AdV.

CEVEC’s CAP cell line is based on an engineered human suspension cell line of non-tumor origin, derived from human amniocytes. CAP cells can be grown in all formats and all sizes of bioreactors, providing a robust, fully scalable production platform for the manufacturing of viral vectors. The deal will allow CARISMA to use the technology across their portfolio of chimeric antigen receptor macrophages (CAR-M) immunotherapies in cancer indications. No further details of the agreement have been disclosed.

“This collaboration with CEVEC is a key proof point to CARISMA’s commitment to tapping the potential of CAR-Ms as a therapeutic pathway. We are eager to work with companies that match our dedication to patients and the field of immunotherapy. We look forward to applying CEVEC’s CAP technology to the continued development of our CAR-M platform,” added Steven Kelly, president and CEO of CARISMA Therapeutics.

CEVEC also noted in January that the company had signed a license agreement with Biogen Inc. for the use of CEVEC’s proprietary ELEVECTA technology for the manufacturing of adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors for gene therapy applications. 

“The ELEVECTA Producer Cell Lines are custom-made for your specific AAV vector by stably incorporating the sequences of the serotype-specific capsid and the gene of interest into the genome of the cell,” CEVEC’s website states. “It is the perfect cell line for reliable AAV production in suspension bioreactors at all scales and formats.”

The agreement grants Biogen a non-exclusive license for the ELEVECTA technology, and gives Biogen the rights to use the technology across their portfolio of gene therapy products. Under the license, CEVEC is eligible for technology access and milestone fees — including clinical development and commercial milestones — as well as royalties on net sales of products.

“We are delighted to strengthen our collaboration with Biogen with this license agreement, enabling them to use the ELEVECTA technology as a platform and to efficiently manufacture AAV vectors for their growing gene therapy portfolio. Over the last several years we have seen a strong need across pharma and biotech companies to establish scalable and robust manufacturing technologies for AAV vectors,” explained Faust in a press release. “This agreement represents the next major step on our ELEVECTA journey. Biogen has been a great collaboration partner, and we look forward to continuing to support them with our innovative technologies.”

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