BMS doubles down on its early-stage partnership with cell therapy manufacturer Cellares

Six weeks after cell and gene therapy manufacturer Cellares revealed that Bristol Myers Squibb would use its innovative robotic production program, the companies have expanded their association.

BMS now will employ Cellares’ Cell Shuttle platform for the automated proof-of-concept manufacturing of a second CAR-T cell therapy in its pipeline, according to a release.

The companies did not specify terms of the deal.

In August, South San Francisco-based Cellares revealed a $255 million series C funding round to complete construction of its commercial-scale cell therapy manufacturing facility in New Jersey.

BMS was among the investors of the round, which was led by Koch Disruptive Technologies.

Cellares dubs itself as the world's first integrated development and manufacturing organization. With its compact automation platform, Cellares says it can produce the same number of cell therapy batches with 90% less labor and facility space than conventional contract development and manufacturing organizations.

Last month, Cellares revealed it had partnered with Lyell Immunopharma on a proof-of-concept technology transfer for the manufacture of its LYL797 cell therapy to treat solid tumors.

Before that, BMS tapped the upstart to perform proof-of-concept manufacturing of a pipeline cell therapy. 

All of Cellares' work is in the preclinical stage.

With two approved cell therapies, Abecma and Breyanzi, and three others in the pipeline, BMS is one of the industry’s leading cell therapy players.