BOLOGNA, Italy, September 27, 2023 – A substantial 79% increase in new cancer cases among individuals under the age of 50 has been recorded worldwide in the last three decades (1990-2019), according to research published in early September 2023 in the open-access journal BMJ Oncology. The emerging area of cellular immunotherapy represents a significant opportunity in this fight against cancer.
Based in Bologna, Cellply is the first Italian biotech to enter the market with a platform capable of measuring the effectiveness of cellular immunotherapies in the treatment of oncological diseases, paving the way in the fight against cancer. Thanks to Cellply’s technology, it will be possible to save the lives of even advanced-stage cancer patients through a system that optimizes development costs, controls the quality of cells delivered to the patient, and in the future will allow for monitoring of treated patients.
Ensuring a better quality of human life is Cellply’s core value. Founded in 2013 by Massimo Bocchi and Roberto Guerrieri, founder of Silicon Biosystem (later acquired by Menarini) and inventor of the fingerprint technology acquired by Apple, the startup had already raised various seed rounds and grants totaling €11 million. The company, now led by the new CEO Emiliano Spagnolo, who plans to close 2023 with its first significant revenue and a strong growth projection of several tens of millions within two years, has just concluded a new internal round of €3.6 million, led by RECOMEC, LIFTT, and SCHIA VENTURES, and is continuing the current round and opening it to new investors with the aim of reaching €14 million by the end of the first quarter of 2024. Short-term objectives include consolidating the research and development market, entering the U.S. market and establishing Cellply North America, while strengthening its presence in the European market. In the long term, the goal is to become the leader in analytical tools for research and quality control within the “Cell Therapy” sector.
The solutions proposed by CellPly optimize biopharmaceutical companies’ research investments and contribute to a cure for cancer. Unlike traditional chemically based drugs, in cellular immunotherapy, the drug consists of living biological material, with each cell being unique. However, these are very expensive treatments, sometimes exceeding $400,000 per patient. Cellply’s patented platform helps the biopharmaceutical industry to find the most effective version of the drug, identifies how the drug is responding in the patient, optimizes the production process and confirms the consistency of the manufactured product. It achieves this in part by identifying the specific cells which produce the greatest number of “super-killer” cells against the tumor. “We want to offer biotech companies, pharma, and clinics developing new cellular therapies a tool capable of reducing development times, costs, and risks,” explains CEO Emiliano Spagnolo. “We have developed a robotic deployed simple-to-use fully automated analytical tool in which we insert a patented microfluidic device. Single cells to be examined are placed in unique chambers and powerful AI software driven by machine learning identifies the most effective ones against tumor targets. The information allows researchers to analyze the critical attribute called potency of immune cell subpopulations and to identify samples containing a higher number of active and effective cells resulting in a rapid discovery and development of new cellular therapies”.
Quality Control of these therapies at scale will require dozens of analysts which is costly and risky given the manual processes involved in analyzing final product. With this additional investment Cellply, thanks to the exclusive patented technology and automation, will be able to reduce associated costs while ensuring greater consistency, quality and precision in analyses and the therapies.
There are currently 2700 cellular therapies in development worldwide, with over 1800 active trials, and starting from 2025, there will be a trend to approve approximately 15 cellular therapies per year (Source: Food & Drugs Administration). Confirming this trend, Cellply can ensure an active presence in this rapidly growing market. The company is unique in utilizing this technology and is currently the only one in the world in the development of automated Quality Control for potency.
CellPly is a life-science company developing analytical tools aiming at unraveling the complexity of the immune system and enabling rapid and effective development of next-generation immunotherapies and cell-based therapies. Our unique solution combines a proprietary microfluidic technology to capture functional and phenotypic information from thousands of single cells, with the highly automated VivaCyte® analytical instrument, integrating robotic solutions and AI for image analysis. Our goal is to make in-depth analysis applicable across the therapy development cycle, from discovery to process development and quality control.