Dan Stanton, Managing editor

March 14, 2022

2 Min Read
Novartis playing in cell therapy CDMO space with Carisma
Novartis' global maufacturing network (image c/o Novartis website)

Novartis will make a macrophage-based cell therapy targeting breast cancer for Carisma Therapeutics from its Morris Plain, New Jersey site.

An initial agreement signed this week will see Novartis manufacture a HER 2 targeted CAR-Macrophage (CAR-M) cell therapy for Carisma from the beginning of 2023.

The candidate, CT-0508, is the first CAR-Macrophage cell therapy to enter clinical trials. Preclinical trials have shown the potential to overcome key challenges faced by other cell therapies treating solid tumors, including: The capacity to selectively destroy cancer cells, the ability; the ability to survive in the hostile solid tumor setting and maintain an anti-tumor phenotype in the presence of immunosuppressive factors; and activation of an adaptive immune response leading to long-term anti-tumor immunity and protection against antigen negative relapse.

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Novartis’ global maufacturing network (image c/o Novartis website)

Work will be carried out at Novartis’ Morris Plains facility, acquired back in 2012 from Dendreon and part of Novartis’ own cell therapy manufacturing network, supporting commercial CAR-T therapy Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel).

Last year, Novartis launched its Global Biotech Cooperations (GBTC) division, offering its global capacity to others in the industry effectively as a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO).

The Carisma deal is the first announced in the cell therapy space for the newly formed CDMO business, though GBTC has announced various deals supporting other modalities.

The firm inked a deal with CureVac to help make up to 250 million doses of its (now abandoned) COVID-19 vaccine candidate, CVnCoV, back in March last year. Weeks later, rival Swiss pharma firm Roche secured space at Novartis’ Singapore site to make Actemra (tocilizumab).

Furthermore, Novartis has supported the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine from its fill-finish sites in Stein, Switzerland, and Ljubljana, Slovenia.

About the Author(s)

Dan Stanton

Managing editor

Journalist covering the international biopharmaceutical manufacturing and processing industries.


Founder and editor of Bioprocess Insider, a daily news offshoot of publication Bioprocess International, with expertise in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors, in particular, the following niches: CROs, CDMOs, M&A, IPOs, biotech, bioprocessing methods and equipment, drug delivery, regulatory affairs and business development.


From London, UK originally but currently based in Montpellier, France through a round-a-bout adventure that has seen me live and work in Leeds (UK), London, New Zealand, and China.

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