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ASMA Consortium: Improving access to innovative bio therapeutics through acoustic technologies

Positioning France as a leader in the biomanufacturing of innovative cell and gene therapies

Paris, February 22, 2022 – New approaches to cellular immunotherapy such as CAR-T cells represent a major medical and economic challenge. They bring hope to all branches of medicine, in particular the development of drugs and cell therapies that are effective against pathologies such as cancer, AIDS, genetic diseases, etc. However, the use of cell immunotherapy remains very expensive, limiting access for patients. This is why Aenitis Technologies, a company developing innovative medical devices for manipulation and sorting of cells based on the use of acoustic energy, has been designated within the framework of the “France 2030” plan by the Innovation Council to create and pilot the ASMA (Acoustic Solutions for Manufacturing Advanced Therapies) consortium in order to improve the industrial or pharmaceutical scale yield of Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMPs).

Scaling-up the production of advanced therapy medicinal products involving transduction and/or transfection steps.

A collaboration of four organizations: the Accelerator of Technological Research in Genomic Therapy (INSERM), the Centre for Molecular Biophysics (CNRS), Yposkesi, a company of the SK Pharmteco group, and Aenitis, the ASMA consortium aims to develop complementary technologies and integrate acoustic technologies (Acoustophoresis and Sonoporation) to meet the growing industrial and clinical needs for manufacturing processes that combine controlled costs, health safety and integration into current production structures.

“We are proud to have been selected by the government to embody the French bio manufacturing industry, competitive and of excellence, in this large-scale project of the future.” said Emmanuel Vincent, CEO and co-founder of Aenitis Technologies. “With ASMA, we will improve the quality and yield of bio manufacturing processes to accelerate the availability of innovative treatments for patients.”

Aenitis Technologies is a leading player in new bio manufacturing methods. The company is one of the first nine winners of the call for expressions of interest (AMI “New biotherapies and production tools”) and the call for proposals “Grand Défi Biomédicament” alongside Affilogic; BioMérieux SA; Biomunex Pharmaceuticals; CellQuest SAS; Kimialys SAS; PathoQuest; Seripharm SAS and François Rabelais University for €28.3 million in investments and €13.1 million in funding.

ART-TG is an innovation and development center for cell and gene therapy set up by Inserm to promote research excellence in this field and ease the emergence of innovative treatments.

As Industrial Integrator of the project, the know-how of the laboratory (in the field of lentivirus production and hematopoietic stem cell transduction) will allow the integration of acoustic technologies to automate and improve the production processes of gene therapy products. The laboratory will bring all its expertise on the configuration and validation of pilot instruments for cell transduction or transfection, allowing the progressive scaling up for industrial or clinical transfer.

Anne Galy, Director of the Integrator, declaired: “The ASMA project is completely in line with the laboratory’s ambition for technological innovation and meets the objectives of the “Grand Défi” by creating this public/private collaboration that will ultimately improve processes and benefit patients.”

The Molecular Biophysics Center is a research center at the interface of chemistry, physics and biology. The team led by Professor Chantal Pichon is developing a thematic focused on innovative therapies and Nano medicine. It has an internationally recognized expertise in the delivery of nucleic acids by non-viral methods, both chemical and physical, in particular sonoporation. The team designs and synthesizes gas microbubbles for the delivery of nucleic acids (DNA, RNA) by sonoporation. This expertise will be used in the ASMA project for the design of the prototype integrating acoustophoresis and sonoporation to improve the quality and yield of bioprocesses for the manufacture of innovative treatments.

“In recent years, several scientific facts have demonstrated that research conducted at the interface of several disciplines are real sources of scientific discoveries and industrial innovation.” said Prof. Chantal Pichon. “Within the ASMA project, fundamental concepts and cutting-edge technologies from physics, chemistry and biology will be exploited to enable the development of industrial innovations in gene and cell therapy.”

Yposkesi is one of the largest pharmaceutical contract manufacturers (CDMO) in Europe. Specialized in the manufacture of viral vectors for gene and cell therapy, the company is proud to be a part of this project. With experts in the field of gene therapy and more than 20 years of experience, Yposkesi will bring process development, manufacturing and industrial knowledge to advance this promising technology and make it a reality. As a long-term investor in innovation, Yposkesi sees this project as an opportunity to close the current gap in manufacturing productivity for gene therapies.

“The technology that will be developed within ASMA project has the potential to significantly improve the yields of gene therapy production processes, hence allowing easier access to these therapies for patients.” Alain Lamproye, CEO of Yposkesi.