A new development partnership between gene therapy company Altheia Sciences, which pioneers cell and gene treatments, and AGC Biologics, will look at strategies to treat autoimmune disease and cancer. \n\n\n\nSpecifically, the partnership will help advance development of autoimmunity treatments, focused on modulating PD-L1 expression in patients’ hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells, into clinical testing. \n\n\n\nPD-L1 is a protein that acts like a brake, keeping the body’s immune responses under control.\n\n\n\nMilan facility \n\n\n\nAGC Biologics is performing the development of drug products at its Milan facility using lentiviral vector (LVV) and autologous CD34+ hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell systems. The cells will be converted using a highly efficient ex vivo lentiviral material to encode the human PD-L1 DNA. \n\n\n\nPaolo Rizzardi, chief executive officer of Altheia Science said: “The AGC Biologics Milan site has a long-standing expertise in successfully developing stem cell-based gene therapies, from clinical testing up to commercialization. We believe this partnership is key in supporting our gene therapy programs and making these innovative therapies available to patients.”\n\n\n\nThe Milan facility has one of the strongest development and manufacturing track records in the global cell and gene industry, working with virtually any cell type and lentiviral, retroviral and adeno‐associated viral vectors.\n\n\n\nLife-changing treatments \n\n\n\nJB Agnus, chief business officer of AGC Biologics said: “We are pleased Altheia Science placed their trust in our cell therapy and viral vector services and our Milan site, at this important stage in their product’s lifecycle. Our global Cell Therapy and Viral Vector services are powerful tools for partners creating life-changing treatments for patients. We pride ourselves on our ability to collaborate with cell and gene developers and work within their unique specifications and requirements.” \n\n\n\nAGC Biologics’ cell therapy services and viral vector capabilities leverage the latest technology and processes, including proprietary platforms developed to address the evolving advanced therapies industry.