Lonza has acquired a controlling stake in Octane Biotech, with the right to acquire full ownership. The increase in equity share will allow Lonza to further develop the technology to support the growing need for scalable autologous manufacturing. Octane Orthobiologics Inc. will maintain exclusivity to a certain subset of orthopedic clinical indications for use in the Cocoon system.
The two companies have been collaborating since 2015 on the development of the Cocoon system, a patient-scale, closed, and automated cell-therapy manufacturing system.
Following an intensive joint-development program, the Cocoon system now incorporates the majority of unit operations needed for scalable end-to-end manufacturing of cell therapies, including Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) and Chimeric Antigen Receptor T cells (CAR-T cells).
In addition, the flexible, disposable cassettes can be modified to accommodate a wide range of autologous cell therapy processes for adherent cells, non-adherent cells, and combination products. This advantage provides flexibility in a field that utilizes a variety of cell types and processes.
Cocoon also aims to answer some of the key challenges facing autologous cell therapies as they reach the commercial stage, including variability in cell yields and the stringent regulations in place once products are registered. Automating autologous cell therapy manufacturing in a closed system enables superior process control, leading to fewer deviations and higher cell quality.
The Cocoon system is part of Lonza’s array of autologous cell therapy offerings. The company currently is working with a number of customers, with therapies in various clinical stages, to integrate the Cocoon manufacturing equipment as a key part of their clinical and commercial manufacturing strategy.
Octane Biotech’s 24 employees at the current site in Kingston, Ontario, Canada will continue to support activities as the Cocoon system is further developed. In addition, the Lonza autologous cell therapy R&D group will maintain their complete support of Cocoon system-related activities from their Maryland R&D site.
(Source: Lonza Group Ltd.)