This biotech startup aims to use stem cells from placenta to treat cancer and extend life by decades
A spinoff of Celgene Cellular Therapeutics and a new biotech startup, Celularity, is taking cancer treatment to the next level. Founded in September 2017, by stem cell pioneer Robert Hariri, MD, PhD, Celularity wants to harvest human placenta for stem cells to use in treatments of wide range of diseases including cancer treatment and extending human life by decades.
On Thursday the company announced the formation of the company with $250M in funding with contributions from Celgene, United Therapeutics, Sorrento Therapeutics, Human Longevity, Inc., Genting Group, the Dreyfus Family Office, Section 32, and Heritage Group. Celularity is co-founded with Vice Chairman, Peter H. Diamandis, MD, alongside Dr. Hariri.
Celularity sources, develops, and deploys transformative therapies derived from the placenta for treatment of complex medical conditions including hematological and solid tumors, autoimmune disease, diabetes, as well as degenerative effects of aging. By combining synergistic assets from Celgene, United Therapeutics, Sorrento Therapeutics, and Human Longevity Inc., Celularity is accelerating the development of cell and tissue regenerative products to address unmet medical needs. These treatments have the potential to reverse life-threatening diseases and extend the healthy human lifespan.
“My goal is to make it so the next generation grows up in a world where cancer is managed just like the common cold, and the body’s natural regenerative engine remains empowered throughout our lives,” said Dr. Hariri, Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Celularity. “Celularity is a new biotechnology company model founded to harness the placenta as a platform for discovery and therapeutics, ultimately with a goal of amplifying the body’s ability to fight disease, restore function and extend the healthy lifespan. It is my vision that the cellular medicines we derive from the placenta will lead to abundant and affordable treatments.”
Celularity has assembled an industry-leading intellectual property portfolio of more than 800 issued patents, which attain a dominating position around placental-derived stem and progenitor cells. Celularity is also the first to own and deploy the full value chain ranging from sourcing placental stem cells to delivering patient treatment.
Celularity is the currently the only company in the United States with an allogeneic placental cell platform. This treatment approach could expand into a larger medical movement if the treatment proves effective and also if the gets approval from government regulators. There are other immunotherapy products on the market that use various other cells and methods of attacking and killing cancer. However, these therapies cost $300,000 to $500,000 per patient. The exorbitant price is because the products require cells be engineered specifically for each patient. Celularity’s approach on the other hand is based on placental stem cells that are uniquely immunoprivileged, therefore treatments do not require cells to be engineered or matched for each individual patient. Celularity is focused on this highly-scalable platform of technology to optimize economics and access to these cutting-edge therapies, including immuno-oncology. These placental stem cells allow for unprecedented scalability for Celularity’s CAR-T and CAR-NK platforms.
“Celularity’s technology has the potential to augment human immunity and longevity,” said Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, Co-Founder and Vice-Chairman of Celularity. “The company’s ultimate vision is to make 100 years old the new 60, providing people with maximal cognition, mobility and aesthetics as they age. The 20 years of science, research, and intellectual property pioneered by Dr. Bob Hariri has the highest potential to become the cornerstone for this vision.”
Andrew von Eschenbach, MD, among the founding members of the Celularity Board of Directors, and the former United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner and Director of the National Cancer Institute, said, “The pioneering work of Celularity founder Bob Hariri has unleashed the unique properties of placental derived stem cells, which have renewed hope for creating safe and effective therapies for the most challenging degenerative diseases.” Dr. von Eschenbach added, “Celularity, with its focus on accelerating innovation in regenerative medicine, can become the leading catalyst for cell therapy to address many of the world’s unmet medical needs.”
“Our investment in Celularity brings together its proprietary allogeneic placental platform and Sorrento’s best in class CAR-T products and cGMP manufacturing capabilities,” said Henry Ji, another founding member of Celularity’s Board of Directors and Chairman, President and CEO of Sorrento Therapeutics. “Together, we can deliver these health solutions at scale to treat exponentially more people than we ever thought possible.”