Serum Institute of India, Univercells enter affordable oncology partnership

Serum Institute of India and Univercells have partnered to enhance cancer therapy accessibility through a 90% decrease in production costs.

Shreeyashi Ojha, Reporter

April 18, 2024

2 Min Read

Aiming to increase personalized cancer therapies especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), Serum Institute of India (SII) will develop a cancer treatment using messenger RNA (mRNA) in combination with its recombinant Bacillus Calmette-Guerian (rBCG) vaccine candidate (VPM1002).

Dependent on the regulatory strategy, the first in-human trial is expected in 2025. Both parties expect to have the vaccines available in a maximum of three years.

This partnership will address the problem of high cost through Univercell’s fully integrated standardized patient agnostic way to produce the personalized vaccine, said the firm. This manufacturing technology will be installed at SII. In combination with their massive operational capabilities, it will dramatically impact cost and thus affordability.

“Through this partnership, Univercells is being recognized not only as a technology provider, but also in vaccine design,” Jose Castillo, chief technology officer of Univercells told BioProcess Insider.

“We are developing design to delivery technology that will first and foremost, dramatically decrease the time needed to deliver a personalized vaccine, with the manufacturing that will be based on Quantoom Biosciences’ (a Univercells company) advanced technologies that will be fully integrated from the biopsy of the patient through the synthesis of the DNA needed, through the amplification of the DNA, through the production of RNA, its purification and its formulation into one single fully integrated system which is the one that will deliver on cost.”

Sharing insights on Univercells’ manufacturing technologies, Catillo said Univercells follows the intensification and chaining approach, where the chain the unistep operations into a fully standardized manufacturing process that is RNA or patient-agnostic. “It’s fully integrated, all the unistep operations are integrated into one machine, without human intervention nor human-related costs,” said Castillo.

The firm claimed the BCG vaccine is already being used to treat bladder cancer triggering an innate immune response. "When administrating the vaccine, it will awaken the entire immune system of patients and will enhance positively the cancer vaccine’s effectiveness."

“The combination of our advanced manufacturing technologies with the operational massive power of SII, will allow this innovative treatment, to be available not only to Indian citizens but to the rest of the world,” said Catillo.

About the Author(s)

Shreeyashi Ojha

Reporter, BioProcess Insider

Journalist covering the manufacturing and processing sectors for biopharmaceuticals globally.  

Originally from India, I am a Londoner at heart. I have recently graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London.  

Feel free to reach out to me at: [email protected].

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