Today Cellares announced their $82 million Series B financing, co-led by Decheng Capital and Eclipse Ventures. This capital will enable Cellares to scale their industry-leading capabilities in cell-therapy manufacturing, and bring the promise of cell therapies to millions of patients around the world.
After first partnering with Cellares in early 2019 by leading their Series A, the company has made tremendous progress on every front — building an amazing team, achieving technical progress beyond what they originally set out to do, and garnering significant commercial interest.
Since building our initial thesis on cell-therapy manufacturing in early 2018, the industry has continued to grow at an unprecedented rate. We hypothesized that this class of drugs was going to be the largest shift in the pharmaceutical industry since the advent of biologics, which has since been proven true. There are some 450,000 people today who would benefit from this class of drugs. In the next five to 10 years, that number is projected to exceed 2 million. But because of a lack of scalable manufacturing technologies, even today’s most pioneering companies in the cell-therapy field struggle to treat a few thousand patients per year.
Traditional drug manufacturing is too inflexible in the age of personalized therapies. Conventional approaches are designed for low-mix, high volume products: think painkillers or chemotherapy — the same drug for every patient. Cell therapies, on the other hand, are personalized medicines made for each patient individually in a labor-intensive process that is expensive and hard to scale. The safe and reliable formulation of these bespoke treatments is the antithesis of mass production — that is, until now.
During our journey with the Cellares founders, it has become clear that our visions of the opportunity and solution required to meet the industry’s needs are aligned. Co-Founders Fabian Gerlinghaus, Omar Kurdi and Alex Pesch each have deep expertise building novel hardware and software solutions for various biological applications, and are executing on their vision of redefining a fundamental aspect of one of the world’s largest industries — pharmaceutical manufacturing.
The opportunity in front of the company is larger than ever. The global cell-therapy market is estimated to grow to more than $40 billion in the coming years. There are nearly 700 active cell-therapy trials for a broad variety of indications, including both blood and solid tumor cancers, as well as congenital diseases like sickle cell anemia.
We continue to believe that Cellares’ solution is the right one for the industry. Their approach and architecture have been validated by industry leaders who have become advisors to the company: Dr. Carl June, Rod Rietze and Timothy Moore. The company is already working with many of the leading and most promising cell-therapy companies and academic institutions, such as PACT Pharma and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
We could not be more excited to be expanding our partnership with Cellares in such a meaningful way. Their success will result in many, many lives saved, and we are confident this team and this company is the exact right
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