Senti Bio, Fresh Out of $ 645 Million Spark Pact, Launches In-House Manufacturing of Natural Killer Cell Therapies


Freshly equipped with a $ 105 million Series B and a pact of more than half a billion with Roche’s gene therapy unit, Senti Biosciences is taking its industrial destiny in hand.

Bayer-backed Senti Bio is giving up an undisclosed sum to lease and build a manufacturing plant on its own. By advancing a pair of allogeneic chimeric antigen receptor (CAR-NK) natural killer cells, the company will first use the plant for the clinical manufacture of its prospects in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and hepatocellular carcinoma , Felt mentionned in a press release.

If the company’s “out-of-the-box” cell therapies convince regulators, Senti will eventually aim to use the plant for commercial production as well.

In-house manufacturing will prove essential in Senti’s quest to maintain control “over the quality and supply” of its current and future CAR-NK candidates, the company said.

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The lease is for a 92,000 square foot facility in Alameda, California, near the company’s head office and R&D center in southern San Francisco. The winner of Fierce 15 plans to outfit the facility as an “end-to-end manufacturing solution”, which will allow biotechnology to isolate natural killer (NK) cells, design them with the genetic circuitry of the company, to perform cell culture expansion in large batches and cryopreserve and store end products, Senti said.

The idea is to make the allogeneic CAR-NKs, which are made from healthy donor cells, before clinical use, and then store them in frozen vials for quick, “ready-to-use” delivery to patients. patients, Philip Lee, Ph .D., chief technology officer and co-founder of Senti Bio, said in a statement.

Senti Bio’s approach takes advantage of “genetic circuits”, primarily used to modify the genetic code of a cell in order to treat the severity of the disease and limit side effects. Senti treatments are designed to feel and adapt to their environment. They aim to avoid the safety and efficacy pitfalls of their cellular and genetic predecessors.

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This tactic won Felt a place in Fierce Biotech’s Fierce 15 ranking in 2018, plus serious financial interest from pharmaceutical majors like Bayer, Amgen and Roche.

In January, Leaps by Bayer LED Senti’s powerful $ 105 million Series B, which also included contributions from the VC arm of Amgen, Mirae Asset Capital, Ridgeback Capital and more. A few months later, Roche’s gene therapy unit, Spark Therapeutics ink a biobucks pact of more than $ 645 million with Senti to leverage its genetic circuit technology in the development of next-generation gene therapies.

As part of the agreement, Senti is on the bridge to design, construct and test synthetic cell-type and disease-specific promoters for use in certain gene therapies directed to the central nervous system, eyes or liver. He will also be in charge of preclinical, clinical and commercial work for all Spark gene therapies that use synthetic promoters licensed from Senti.

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