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Cell Therapy Start-Up Raises $6M in Seed Funds

Stem cells

Stem cells illustration (Public Domain Pictures)

19 Nov. 2021. A new company providing clinical development and commercialization for emerging cell therapies began operations and raised $6 million in seed funding. Cellevolve Bio in San Francisco also signed an agreement for manufacturing cell therapies with National Resilience Inc., known as Resilience, a one year-old biopharmaceutical production enterprise in San Diego and Boston.

Cellevolve Bio says it offers services to take promising cellular therapies from academic and commercial discovery labs to market. The company plans to collaborate with discovery labs on development and commercialization of early-stage cell therapies, then take those efforts through clinical trials and regulatory stages, as well as provide manufacturing and distribution of end products. Cellevolve says it seeks to build pipelines of treatments for cancer, central nervous system, and viral diseases from the estimated 2,000 cell therapies now in development.

For clinical trials, Cellevolve says it applies up-to-date recruitment and retention techniques, bringing in patients, clinicians, and regulators early in the planning process. Since many cell therapies use a patient’s own cells as raw material, that process is often designed one patient at a time. In addition, says the company, cell therapy clinical trials often require smaller numbers of participants, compared to conventional drugs.

“There is an abundance of promising new cell therapy innovations being developed around the world, with early data to support clinical efficacy,” says founder and CEO Derrell Porter in a Cellevolve Bio statement released through BusinessWire. “Our goal at Cellevolve is to build one of the largest cell therapy pipelines in the industry through partnerships with innovators, and deliver that breakthrough science to patients as commercially available therapies.”

Exclusive manufacturing partner

Cellevolve Bio is raising $6 million in its seed funding round, from a group including Chris Jeffers of Hibiscus BioVentures and and Marcus Whitney of Jumpstart Nova, taking part with Resilience. Jumpstart Nova says it’s the first Black health care venture fund in the U.S. Jeffers, Whitney, and a representative from Resilience are expected to join Cellevolve’s board. Also taking part in the seed round are Boxcar Partners, Catalytic Impact Fund, and several individual investors.

Cellevolve named Resilience its exclusive manufacturing partner. But the company is also expected to take part in selection of cell therapy assets, and has an option to provide manufacturing services in exchange for equity in future Cellevolve financing.

Science & Enterprise reported in November 2020 on Resilience’s initial operations and $800 million in two funding rounds. Resilience provides manufacturing and supply chain services for biotechnology companies and labs. The company says it offers a network of production and distribution facilities and services including manufacturing facilities that meet industry manufacturing practice standards aimed at fulfilling regulatory requirements, with supply chain elements and management all onshore.

“Manufacturing has been a critical barrier holding back cell therapies from reaching patients,” notes Resilience CEO Rahul Singhvi. “By working with Cellevolve to create new manufacturing processes, we aim to help them produce medicines that can be made quickly and at scale to meet the high demand from people in need.”

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