mega888 EU Horizon 2020 Programme award – Aglaris

The prestigious EU Horizon 2020 Programme award helps to deliver disruptive innovation for cell therapy manufacturing

In March 2019, Aglaris was delighted to be awarded a grant from the prestigious European Innovation Council’s Horizon 2020 Innovation and Research program to support the late-stage development of its Facer system for the manufacturing of cell-based therapeutics.

The SME Instrument programme (now known as the EIC Accelerator) is part of the EIC’s initiative to support top class innovators, entrepreneurs and small companies with funding opportunities and acceleration services. The main focus of the EIC Accelerator is on market-creating innovations that shape new markets and generate jobs, growth and higher standards of living. The grant helps to develop business concepts further into a market-ready product, service or process aligned with the company’s growth strategy. Activities covered include trials, prototyping, validation, testing in real-world conditions and market replication.

The grant, combined with other funds secured by the company, has allowed Aglaris to make exciting progress towards commercialisation of its Facer system and to demonstrate its ability to bring confidence, quality, consistency & scalability to the manufacturing of cell-based therapeutics.

Purpose

Our purpose is to enable people with incurable and chronic diseases to benefit from cell and gene therapy.

These amazing new therapeutics are now reaching the market and will enable recovery from illnesses such as aggressive cancers in children and adults, diabetes, genetic disorders and diseases of an ageing population.

Problem & proposed solution

In cell therapy, patients are treated using their own cells rather than chemical pharmaceuticals. Doctors take blood or tissue from the patient, prepare the cells for their therapeutic function and then re-administer the cells back into the patient to fight the disease.

All this is possible now but it is not viable from either a manufacturing or a commercial perspective because these cell therapies need large quantities of high-quality cells.

To produce these cells today, a specialised manufacturing infrastructure and highly skilled technicians are essential – these products are effectively hand-made. This makes the manufacturing expensive and inflexible. It is also extremely difficult to build up the scale of production.

The very real risk is that these drugs simply will not reach enough patients.

So, Aglaris has been developing the FACER – a machine that fits on the top of a desk in which the whole process is done in a closed system, in a fully intelligent and autonomous way.

Our value proposition

There is no need for specialised personnel except for supervision and set-up; the therapy is delivered more affordably and the process is easily scalable. With one device, we will enable the essential manufacturing of different types of cell therapy quickly, cost-effectively and robustly.

Our machine is similar in concept to a printer – a printer can print any kind of document. Other people will make their document with our printer.

Who will be the customers for our products?

Hospitals and clinics deliver the treatment and they want to make it as near to the patient as possible. For the first time, this will be enabled by the FACER.

Cell and drug researchers need to test and evaluate therapeutics in development. Facer will make this happen faster, more reliably and more economically – thus speeding drugs to approval and availability.

Drug manufacturers and Contract Manufacturing Organisations will be able to perform the same, standardised process, economically, anywhere in the world – an essential capability as the industry is faced with deploying a much greater degree of geo-dispersed manufacturing than ever before.

Conclusions

18 months after receiving the award, our programme is well-advanced. Our expanded team has been working intensively with technical partners, therapeutics developers, clinicians and other key members of the cell therapy community. We have developed a disruptive innovation.

Finally, we CAN have a significant impact in the outside world – including, as stated in our Purpose, on the quality of a Patient’s life.