Autolus taps Vineti to help deliver personalized cell therapies

Autolus has a lot of CAR-T candidates heading for clinical trials and has teamed up with software company Vineti to try to bring them to market more efficiently.

Three-year-old Vineti, co-founded by GE Ventures and Mayo Clinic Ventures, has developed cloud-based software to automate and orchestrate the many steps involved in the production and delivery of cell and gene therapies. Autolus said it will use the software across its portfolio of clinical-stage T cell therapies, which includes five blood cancer and one solid tumor product.

The platform helps to manage the transactions between hospitals, blood banks, couriers and manufacturers involved in the production of personalized therapies. As they are tailored to the unique characteristics of each patient, tight control over the often-complex supply chain is essential to make sure the right therapy is delivered at the right time and place.

It also tackles the critical issue of traceability, for example to avoid a mishap in which one patient’s autologous T cells might be infused into another patient by accident with potentially catastrophic consequences. And right now, a lot of the patients in line for CAR-Ts and other cell therapies are very sick, so treatments need to be prepared and delivered quickly.

Vineti’s chain-of-custody system has already been adopted by Gilead/Kite Pharma, which launched their Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel) CAR-T product for non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2017. The software company has also signed a deal towards the end of last year with cell and gene therapy player Tessa Therapeutics.

The startup raised $13 million in its first-round financing in 2017, and followed that up with a $34 million Series B last year.

U.K.-based Autolus—which completed an upscaled $150 million IPO last year—has a CD19- targeting T cell therapy called AUTO1 in a phase 1 trial in pediatric relapsed or refractory acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), which generated encouraging early results earlier this month.

It also reported preliminary results from ongoing phase 1/2 trials of its CD19- and CD22-targeting AUTO3 candidate in relapsed/refractory pediatric ALL and diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) at ASH last December.

In the same month, it started dosing patients with its CAR-T AUTO4 for TRBC1-positive peripheral T cell lymphoma (PTCL).

Vineti CEO Amy DuRoss said the company is “honored to support Autolus in their efforts to provide transformative treatments to cancer patients,” adding: “Autolus has shown a deep commitment to the needs of patients who may benefit from the therapies they are developing.”