Novartis, Gilead in joint financing of personalized medicine platform

By Vassia Barba contact

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Natee Meepian)
(Image: Getty/Natee Meepian)

Related tags: Vineti, Novartis, Gilead, CAR-T

Vineti’s latest financing round sees Novartis and Gilead join forces to invest in technology platform that enables scale-up of CAR Ts and allogeneic cell therapies.

The two big pharma companies joined, among others, the investing group for Vineti, the developer of a digital platform for personalized therapeutics enabling the distribution of regenerative medicine, both at clinical and commercial scale.

More specifically, the cloud-based digital platform connects healthcare providers, suppliers, and biopharmaceutical developers by providing them with real-time access to data.

Focusing on personalized medicine, the platform is designed to provide simplicity to end users. Vineti’s CEO, Amy DuRoss explained to us why simplicity is important for such treatments: “Cell and gene therapies have many, many different types of people involved in the manufacturing and delivery process, including healthcare providers who aren’t typically part of manufacturing supply chains.”

“These unfamiliar, highly regulated processes need to be as simple for healthcare providers and other stakeholders as possible, so that these therapies can be produced for patients quickly and without error,” ​she added.

According to the company, Vineti is the only platform of record currently enabling both clinical and commercial personalized therapeutics, such as chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies and allogeneic cell therapies, into the supply chain.

Support by leading companies

Both Gilead and Novartis hold assets at commercial stage, the marketing of which can benefit from the use of the platform. Such assets are Novartis’ gene therapy Zolgensma (onasemnogene abeparvovec-xioi) and Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel), as well as Gilead’s Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel).

Vineti’s Series C financing round closed at $35m (€31.8m), with the software developer announcing that it will use the funding for the expansion of its business, including new software product development and commercial expansion in Europe and Asia-Pacific.

The financing was led by Cardinal Health, with participation from Novartis and Gilead, through its subsidiary, Kite, as well as existing investors. Following the completion of the funding, representatives of Novartis and Kite will join Vineti’s leadership as board observers.

Kite’s global head of technical operations, Charles Calderaro, stated that Kite “played a foundational role as Vineti's first biopharma partner,” ​when the company prepared for the launch of Yescarta.

Expansion of digital capabilities

Asked about how the platform will be expanded after the funding, DuRoss explained that it will offer improved configurability, enabling users to add new or updated features and adjust them at will, ultimately saving them cost and time.

“In biopharma, it’s all about speed to market, and our configuration approach supports that,” ​DuRoss told us.

Moreover, the platform will position the company towards global expansion, by including more languages as well as support for more regional regulations and standards.

According to DuRoss, the company’s partners “increasingly operate worldwide, in international medical centers and manufacturing sites, and many patient-based drug products cross borders on their journey to becoming a therapy.”

Additionally, the company plans to add to the platform more of the ‘standards and integrations’ required to industrialize cell and gene therapies. Vineti’s CEO told us that “It may sound contradictory to standardize such deeply personalized drug products, but for scale, standardization is absolutely essential.”

DuRoss claimed that even though it’s still ‘early days’ in cell and gene therapy, some standard approaches are emerging, as are pre-built integrations that connect critical technology stacks.

“We want to help our partners focus on the uniqueness of their science, and not have to reinvent the wheel on supply chain management with every new drug product,”​ she added.

Finally, the company plans to expand the range of therapies that the platform supports to include ‘other high-value’ therapeutics. “We’ll keep our focus on cell therapy, gene therapy, and personalized cancer vaccines, but expand into other therapeutic areas requiring precision coordination,” ​said DuRoss.

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