Cellulis is the Research + Development company focused on developing technologies for drug development and cell therapy markets. The company boasts a patented cryopreservation technology, which has attributed to their success in the biotechnology field and their aim of creating innovative cell therapy solutions.
KITE Invest: In laymen terms please explain what is cryopreservation technology and if you would shed light on the significance of Cellulis’ discovery and why it makes Cellulis’ patent unique.
Roberto Hernan: Generally speaking, when it comes to the mass production of stem cells or any other cell therapy, cells must be frozen in order to maintain product stability and due to inventory and logistic reasons too. Cryopreservation is the process by which cells are frozen down in a correct manner so that the viability and functionality of cells upon thawing is as high as possible. Freezing and thawing cells correctly require a number of processes that need to be performed with care to avoid cell damage. The inadequate performance and lack of uniformity of these protocols may infer an undesirable variability on the cellular product jeopardizing therapeutic efficacy.
Our technology is unique in the sense that for the first time it introduces simple enclosed mechanisms that assure the correct standardization of freezing and thawing processes, making the whole process operator independent.
KITE: Cellulis’ technology deals with stem cells, bulk cell production, vaccines and ready-to-use stocks of cells. Cellulis patented technology appears to be quite specific, are there other areas in biotechnology that Cellulis would like to enter? In other words, how is Cellulis adapting this specific science into a long-term business plan?
RH: Our cryopreservation technologies are transversal meaning that they are also applicable to other important biotechnology fields. One of our patents also describes a disruptive process capable of freezing massive amounts of cells in a minimum space with high viability rates. High-density cell banks permit forward planning in bulk cell production and they can also reduce lead times through its straight inoculation into bioreactors. This novel approach can streamline the cell-based bio-production of vaccines, proteins and monoclonal antibodies.
Finally, Cell in well™ is another proprietary freezing technology that allows the generation of ready-to-use stocks of cells frozen in microplates. This unique approach avoids cell handling, reduces costs associated to cell culture, maximizes efficiency and contributes to minimize assay-to-assay variations in cellular screening campaigns carried out routinely by pharmaceutical companies. Altogether, our transversal cryopreservation technologies can generate added value to key biotechnological markets including cell therapy, bio-production and drug discovery and this guarantees an ongoing flow of innovative products for the future sustainability of the company.
KITE: In terms of other R+D companies, why does Cellulis stand out? What does Cellulis offer that others don’t?
RH: Our technologies provide innovative solutions to improve and standardize the entire cryopreservation process, something that the market has been lacking for 65 years now since the very first discovery of cryoprotectants in 1949. During all these years, much has been done about improving chemical freezing formulations; however, the methodological approach to the cryopreservation process has been highly conserved until our days and this fact incurs a great lack of standardization.
Our technology is unique in the sense that introduces simple enclosed mechanisms that assure the correct standardization of freezing and thawing protocols, something particularly critical at the point of care and remarkably absent in the market so far.
KITE: Celllulis is a Spanish company, does the company works beyond the Iberian Peninsula? And if so, what are the relationships (existing or future) that Cellulis has abroad?
RH: Cellulis´ products are projected to the global market and patent protection includes countries such as USA, Europe, China, India, Japan, and Brazil to name a few. Currently we are negotiating an exclusive distribution license for the USA with an American contractor. Furthermore, due to our proximity to the European market we are very active there and we are also actively looking for distributors in other important international markets.
KITE: Cellulis has been able to follow its trajectory due to the funding of a group of private investors and public institutions, which allowed for the expansion of laboratories and team recruitment. Is Cellulis currently seeking funding? And if so, what are the specific areas that financing is being sought for?
RH: Yes, Cellulis is currently seeking funding directed meanly to fuel the process that takes to bridge the project from prototyping to industrial production. The two main areas where we need a particular boost right now would be engineering and marketing of our products.
Cellulis was most recently a finalist at The South Summit in Madrid, Spain