Lonza engages Israeli hospital with Cocoon manufacturing platform

The Sheba Medical Center has joined forces with the Swiss CDMO to use its automated CAR-T cell therapy manufacturing, transferring the established open, manual process to closed, custom-built cassette

Sheba Medical Center, deemed the largest hospital in Israel and the Middle East region, has announced a collaboration with Lonza to develop point-of-care cell-therapy manufacturing using the Cocoon manufacturing platform.

Developed by Octane Biotech, a company Lonza acquired last year, the Cocoon system 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).

The system is a patient-scale closed, automated cell therapy manufacturing platform. It was designed with customisable, disposable cassettes to accommodate a wide range of autologous cell therapy processes. The Cocoon device is currently in Beta-testing with a selection of cell and gene therapy customers.

The partnership will enable the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer to streamline its in-house cell manufacturing process and produce genetically engineered human CAR-T cells for applications in treating critically ill oncology patients.

Sheba Medical Center has a proven track record of treating oncology patients using novel immunotherapy treatments such as CAR-T. Lonza said it will leverage its expertise in autologous cell-therapy process development to transfer Sheba’s current open, manual protocols into Lonza’s closed, automated Cocoon platform.

Professor Dror Harats, Deputy Director for Research and Development and Director for Clinical Trials at Sheba Medical Center said: "Lonza’s Cocoon platform provides us with the ability to manufacture cell therapies faster and closer to the point-of-care and in a scalable manner at lower cost so that we can treat more oncology patients who turn to us as a last resort."

Eytan Abraham, Head of Personalised Medicine at Lonza Pharma Biotech & Nutrition said that the collaboration is a key part of the development program for the Cocoon platform.

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