BioCentriq, NJII’s cell and gene therapy development center, announces partnership with MIT startup

BioCentriq, the New Jersey Innovation Institute’s cell and gene therapy development and manufacturing center, announced a partnership this week with Kytopen, a Cambridge-based startup spun out of Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

BioCentriq General Manager Haro Hartounian said the agreement is a perfect match for the company.

“Our mission at BioCentriq is to work with innovative industry partners, like Kytopen, to advance the production and manufacturing of cell and gene therapies, making them accessible and affordable for the patients who so desperately need them,” he said. “This partnership aligns perfectly with that mission.”

Kytopen co-founder and CEO Paulo Garcia said Kytopen’s proprietary Flowfect technology is a flexible, complete technology solution for non-viral cell engineering that integrates the discovery, development and manufacturing of cell and gene therapeutics.

The platform, he said, speeds therapies from the clinic to commercial use by enabling cell engineering without compromising functionality or viability. Kytopen’s technology reduces risk and provides maximum control and flexibility to drive higher yields, faster approvals and better outcomes for curative cellular disease treatment.

“The Flowfect platform is a transformative solution that eliminates the complexity of gene delivery for cell engineering and links discovery, development and manufacturing in one flexible, scalable solution,” he said. “Our goal is to enable simple and efficient nonviral manufacturing of cell therapies in days versus weeks to help patients; our partnership with BioCentriq accelerates that goal.”

In the initial phase of the collaboration, the Kytopen and BioCentriq teams will demonstrate the impact to both autologous and allogeneic cell therapies by integrating this novel transfection technology with other steps in the manufacturing process.

Alex Klarer, head of cell therapy for BioCentriq, said the findings could be huge.

“We are in the midst of a cell engineering revolution with the emergence of CRISPR, as well as transposon technology such as Sleeping Beauty, PiggyBac, TALEN, ZFN and others that is being held back by a lack of viable methods to introduce them into cells at scale,” he said.

“As a high-yield cell transfection method, the Flowfect technology provides a transformative improvement to how we approach cell therapy manufacturing by facilitating nonviral cell engineering modalities. The platform is built with GMP manufacturing in mind as it incorporates easily into modular manufacturing processes and utilizes closed and automated techniques.”