Fiocruz and Caring Cross look to slash CAR-T costs in LATAM

Brazilian Ministry of Health foundation Fiocruz says leveraging local manufacturing partners will cut the cost of CAR-T therapies by up to 90%.

Sara Healy

March 28, 2024

2 Min Read

Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz) and Caring Cross, a non-profit aiming at developing and improving access to advanced medicines across the globe, announced they will collaborate to drive local manufacturing of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR-T) cell and stem cell-based gene therapies in Brazil and Latin American.

According to Fiocruz, such an arrangement will be very attractive for the Brazilian national public health system. The current cost for the production of CAR-T therapies averages around $350,000 per dose, but the expected cost for the development of such therapies once the project is under way will be $35,000 per dose. The projected savings for the health system will be approximately $630 million.

This will be achieved through an improved, point-of-care, CAR-T manufacturing process developed by Caring Cross, which will greatly decrease material costs, the institutions say.

"By sharing our knowledge and expertise, this collaboration will establish local manufacturing capabilities for our innovative CAR-T cell manufacturing platform,” said Boro Dropulić, executive director of Caring Cross.

“When integrated with local point-of-care manufacturing, this approach enables us to drastically cut production expenditures and enable access to these therapies at a fraction of the cost compared to the US and Europe. We are hopeful this collaboration will not only make these treatments more affordable but also serve as a global model for improving access to advanced medical therapies."

The transfer of knowledge will also be given an important focus: the initial phase of the program will be on leukaemia, lymphoma, and HIV therapeutic products. Caring Cross will provide technology, materials and training to the Institute of Technology of Immunobiologicals for the manufacture of CAR-T cell therapies and lentivirals vectors.

Bio-Manguinhos, the Fiocruz unit already focusing on immune-biologics, will produce the lentiviral vectors intended for the development of CAR-T and will be the certifier for advanced posts for the implementation of these therapies in health units throughout Brazil.

“We are working at the frontier of knowledge, and this is an opportunity for Bio-Manguinhos/Fiocruz to consolidate and expand its competencies in innovation and production of biological products to serve not only the Brazilian public health system but also other Latin American countries,” said Mauricio Zuma, director of Bio-Manguinhos.

“This technological agreement with Caring Cross represents an important advancement for the treatment of oncological and infectious diseases and greater access to these treatments for the population.”

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