Automated Tech Ups Hitachi’s Cell Therapy Interest

Recent entrant to the regenerative medicine space Hitachi Chemical has partnered with Invetech to commercialize the Counter-Flow Centrifugation system – an automated platform for cell therapy manufacturing.

The partnership will allow customers of Hitachi Chemical Advanced Therapeutics Solutions (HCATS) to access Invetech’s Counter-Flow Centrifugation (CFC) system in the clinical and commercial manufacturing of cell-based therapies using closed single-use disposables.

Hitachi entered the regenerative medicine space in 2017 through the $US75 million (€64 million) acquisition of cell therapy contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) PCT Cell Therapy Services from Caldrius Biosciences.

Hitachi/PCT continues to manufacture for Caldrius, but has now acquired the rights for the CFC platform from Caladrius for $2.5 million.

The system helps cell therapy developers wash and concentrate cells in an enclosed environment, and is designed for use for concentration/volume reduction, cell washing, media exchange, particle depletion and short-term incubation.

According to Caladrius, the tech helps industry “move closer to a cell processing environment where most, if not all, manufacturing is conducted in a fully-enclosed, automated fashion to reduce the requirement of both a highly skilled workforce and high specification cleanrooms, while providing a robust and reproducible process.”

Robert Preti, CEO of HCATS said in a statement the agreement strengthens his firm’s capabilities in contracted cell manufacturing, and continues its “drive to provide the industry with high-quality, cost-efficient manufacturing platforms and solutions to advance the commercialization of cellular therapies.”

Japanese Cell and Gene Therapy

Hitachi is one of several Japanese firms to invest in regenerative medicine services over the past few years.

Fujifilm Corporation acquired viral vector CDMO Kalon Biotherapeutics in 2014, adding a facility in Texas it has continued to invest in. Just last week, the firm increased its presence in the services space through the acquisitions of cell culture media firms Irvine Scientific (ISUS) and IS Japan (ISJ) for $800 million.

Takara Bio, which constructed a Center for Gene and Cell Processing in 2014 in Kusatsu Japan, announced a 7.3 billion yen ($66 million) expansion in its gene therapy clinical development services earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Japanese biopharma firm Takeda announced its intention to acquire its stem cell therapy manufacturer TiGenix for $630 million in April.

And in February, the UK’s Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult) announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Japanese Society for Regenerative Medicine (JSRM) aimed at promoting collaborations between industry and academic institutions of both regions in the field of regenerative medicine and cell and gene therapies.

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