SCG Cell Therapy and A*STAR Launch Joint Labs to Advance Cellular Immunotherapy in Singapore

18 April 2024 | Thursday | News

The S$30 million collaboration will develop GMP-grade iPSC manufacturing processes and train experts, boosting Singapore's lead in innovative cell therapy research and application.

  • Collaboration aims to develop scalable GMP-grade iPSC manufacturing processes and therapeutic candidates to facilitate research leading to translation of novel cellular immunotherapies.
  • Launch of the joint labs builds on existing license, research collaboration and Memorandum of Understanding between SCG Cell Therapy and A*STAR.

SCG Cell Therapy (SCG) and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) announced the launch joint laboratories for cellular immunotherapies. This collaboration, at a combined funding of close to S$30 million supported under Singapore's Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2025 Plan (RIE2025), aims to advance the development of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology to produce novel cell therapies that meet Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards.

The collaboration will also establish a talent development programme to train the next generation of experts in this field, in accordance with current GMP and regulatory requirements.

The research and application of new technologies are essential for addressing growing healthcare needs and maintaining long-term sustainability. However, turning laboratory innovations into practical clinical solutions poses significant challenges. These often involve developing manufacturing processes, validating analytical methods, and implementing automation and digitalisation to guarantee the stability and scalability of products.

The joint laboratories, established at SCG's GMP facility and A*STAR's research facility, leverage SCG's and A*STAR's proprietary technologies to develop scalable GMP-grade iPSC and therapeutic products. SCG contributes its specialised, automated cell therapy manufacturing technologies, while A*STAR brings its unique monoclonal antibody assets, iPSC banks, and expertise in process scaling and analytics.

This collaboration bridges the expertise between public sector research and development (R&D) and industry, consolidating resources from SCG Cell Therapy and A*STAR's Bioprocessing Technology Institute (BTI) and Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) to advance innovative R&D towards GMP manufacturing. Additionally, it immerses researchers in the rigorously controlled GMP environment, facilitating the progression from research to clinical application.

"Cellular immunotherapies herald a new era of regenerative medicine, offering hope for patients with cancers and other serious illnesses. As a key player in T cell receptor (TCR) T cell therapeutics, SCG has developed in-house cGMP manufacturing capabilities to supply high-quality cell therapy products to patients. Through this first-of-its-kind joint collaboration with A*STAR, we bring together A*STAR's advanced iPSC technology and bioprocessing capabilities with our expertise in GMP cell therapy manufacturing and clinical development, furthering our mission to provide affordable off-the-shelf cell therapy treatment options to patients", said Christy Ma, Chief Strategy Officer of SCG Cell Therapy. 

"The discovery of iPSCs has revolutionised regenerative medicine, offering the potential for standardised, off-the-shelf cell therapies. Through this collaboration with SCG Cell Therapy, we aim to accelerate the translation of iPSC research into clinically viable therapies and strengthen Singapore's position as a global leader in cell therapy innovation. By leveraging our complementary expertise and resources, the joint labs will not only advance iPSC technology for scalable, GMP-compliant cell therapy production but also serve as a platform for nurturing the next generation of talent in this transformative field," said Prof Koh Boon Tong, Executive Director, A*STAR's BTI.

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