Swiss life science start-up, Limula, has secured $6.8m in seed funding to push forward its  system for automating cell therapy manufacturing.

Limula received CHF6.2M ($6.8m) to further advance the marketability of its device, comprising functionalities of a bioreactor and a centrifuge into one single closed vessel, designed to cut costs over the traditional manufacture of stem cells.

One of the major barriers to the general proliferation of a lot of cell and gene therapies previously has been the general need and lack of availability of stem cells. Traditionally harvesting stem cells has been controversial whilst manufacturing artificial stem cells has been difficult and costly. This is the case with products such as chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells.

Now, Limula says that it is addressing this issue with a modular solution for the on-demand manufacturing of cell therapies in a single device, able to process a large volume of cells at once as well as removing transfer steps limiting stress, losses, and potential contamination.

Luc Henry, co-founder, and CEO of Limula said: “Our team is driven by the ambitious goal of developing tools that are based on a fundamentally novel way of manipulating cells outside of the body. Our technology supports manufacturing workflows that are impossible to automate with existing tools.

“We believe automation is the only route to scalability and digital traceability. These two aspects are keys to unlocking the full potential of Cell and Gene Therapy, making them accessible to the many, not just the few.”

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Founded in 2020 by Yann Pierson, Luc Henry, and Thomas Eaton, Limula has been backed by investment firms such as LifeX Ventures, with participation from Verve Ventures among a host of private investment firms and individuals. According to GlobalData’s Clinical Trials Database, CAR-T therapies peaked in 2022, with as many as 271 trials involving the therapy that year.

Inaki Berenguer, managing partner at LifeX Ventures added: “We’re thrilled to stand with the Limula team as they reinvent cell and gene therapy manufacturing. It’s evident that production tools have lagged behind scientific and clinical advancements, particularly in terms of price and scalability. Limula’s commitment to addressing these bottlenecks is crucial to enhancing accessibility for patients.”

Now, Limula says that it intends to use its new seed capital to advance the development of the proprietary platform towards meeting good manufacturing practice (GMP) requirements. Elsewhere in the field of stem and gene therapies the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Verismo Therapeutics’ investigational new drug (IND) application to advance its CAR-T therapy, SynKIR-310, into a Phase I clinical trial. Elsewhere, the FDA has also approved Labcorp’s nAbCyte Anti-AAVRh74var HB-FE assay as a companion diagnostic to Pfizer’s Beqvez gene therapy.