San Diego Business Journal Poseida Therapeutics (Nasdaq: PSTX) announced a partnership with Bay-area start-up, Cellares Corporation to utilize its technology platform to accelerate cell manufacturing.
San Diego-based Poseida Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company utilizing proprietary genetic engineering platform technologies to create cell and gene therapeutics with the capacity to cure cancers and genetic diseases.


Through this partnership, Poseida gains early access to Cellares’ Cell Shuttle — an automated and closed end-to-end manufacturing solution that is flexible and scalable, enabling scientists to run the exact processes specified for their cell therapy.

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Fabian Gerlinghaus Co-Founder, CEO Cellares Corp.

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Mark Gergen President, Chief Business Officer Poseida Therapeutics

The Bay-Area start-up was founded in 2019 by Fabian Gerlinghaus, Omar Kurdi and Alex Pesch.


“We’re thrilled to have Poseida Therapeutics on board to help broaden the possibilities for our Cell Shuttle platform,” said Gerlinghaus, co-founder and chief executive officer of Cellares. “Poseida’s tremendous expertise in the cell therapy space, especially spanning a diverse range of therapeutic modalities, is a huge boon to our developmental efforts. We anticipate our work with Poseida to demonstrate the Cell Shuttle’s adaptability for multiple cell therapy modalities, particularly CAR-T cells.”


Poseida Therapeutics is the third addition to the Cellares Early Access Partnership Program (EAPP), following industry and academic partners PACT Pharma and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Engineering Human Cells
Since 2014, Poseida has been using its proprietary tools for genetic engineering to tackle cancer and other genetic diseases by developing a pipeline of immunotherapies for oncology and in vivo gene therapies.


The company’s CAR-T product candidates modify the immune system’s T-cells to treat multiple myeloma, prostate cancer and other solid tumors like breast, ovarian, colorectal or pancreatic cancers. Additionally, Poseida is developing in vivo gene therapies to treat diseases including hemophilia A and Ornithine Transcarbamylase (OTC) deficiency, an inherited disorder that causes ammonia to accumulate in the blood, which is usually found in newborn infants.


As part of the partnership, Poseida will evaluate the Cell Shuttle prototypes, provide data and feedback on the platform’s function and performance. Mark Gergen, Poseida’s president and chief business officer said that manufacturing living, human cellular-based products is complicated and typically requires many manual steps.


Gergen explained that by automating these kinds of complex processes, it cuts down on the variability of results in developing therapies and it comes back to benefit the patients who rely on these therapies.


“What it means for patients ultimately is probably lower cost and more predictability in the products,” Gergen said. “Automation, ultimately adds to reducing cost and predictability in the quality of the products that come out the back end. So ultimately, the goal of reducing cost is to create more access for more patients to these kinds of therapies, so that’s really the end game.”

What’s Next
Last July, Poseida Therapeutics went public on the Nasdaq and since then, the company has hired about 100 more employees and said it has approximately 240 employees. Gergen also shared that the company plans to hire about 80 more employees over the next six to 12 months.


Partnerships have been a key strategy for Poseida and Gergen said that the reason they connected with Cellares is because they are one of the few companies developing a technology-centric approach to streamlined cell manufacturing.


“These guys I think are looking forward and really...making a big strategic investment in trying to get ahead of the curve on making these cell-based manufacturing processes much more state of the art and streamlined,” Gergen said.


As for Cellares, the private company recently completed an $82 million Series B funding round which brings its total funding to date over $100 million. The start-up currently has 47 employees and plans to double its headcount in the next 6 months, according to a company spokeswoman.


Poseida Therapeutics
FOUNDED: 2014
CEO: Eric Ostertag, M.D., Ph.D.
HEADQUARTERS: UTC
BUSINESS: Clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company utilizing proprietary genetic engineering platform technologies to create cell and gene therapeutics with the capacity to cure cancers and genetic disease.
STOCK: PSTX (NASDAQ)
MARKET CAP: Approx. $600 Million
EMPLOYEES: Approx. 240 employees
WEBSITE: poseida.com
NOTABLE: Poseida IPO’ed in July 2020 for $224 Million
CONTACT: info@poseida.com

Cellares
FOUNDED: 2019
CEO: Fabian Gerlinghaus
HEADQUARTERS: South San Francisco
BUSINESS: Developed the Cell Shuttle, an automated and closed end-to-end manufacturing solution that is flexible and scalable, enabling customers to run the exact processes specified for their cell therapy.
EMPLOYEES: 47 employees
WEBSITE: cellares.com
NOTABLE: Cellares recently secured $82 million in a Series B funding
CONTACT: BD@cellares.com