Is This Company In A Special Position Even As The COVID-19 Pandemic Affects Cell-Based Therapy Industry?

According to Grand View Research, the global cell therapy market was valued at $7.8 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.5% between 2021 and 2028.

The rising number of clinical studies for cell-based therapies and investments in the industry may have a symbiotic relationship. The industry is seeing a snowballing number of ongoing clinical trials with funding from governments and private agencies.

Cell And Gene Therapy

There’s an arguably thin line between cell and gene therapy. Cell therapy is the transfer of intact, live cells into a patient to help lessen or cure a disease, according to the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT). The cells may originate from the patient (autologous cells) or a donor (allogeneic cells).

Gene therapy involves the transfer of genetic material, usually in a carrier or vector, and the uptake of the gene into the appropriate cells of the body. Some protocols use both gene therapy and cell therapy.

Companies are using the building blocks of life and advanced technologies to improve the treatment of human diseases and disorders such as cancer, providing an alternative to traditionally relied-on drugs and surgical treatments.

Cell therapy companies like Longeveron Inc. LGVN, Biogen Inc. BIIB, Alzamend Neuro Inc. ALZN and Solid Biosciences Inc. SLDB, as a result, have gained attention for their progress in using living cells to treat previously incurable diseases and disorders.

Effect Of Covid-19 Manufacturing Issues On Cell-Based Therapy Research

COVID-19 has reportedly caused significant disruption to the cell and gene therapy industry. The pandemic has exacerbated the woes of an industry that’s had its fair share of challenges with the supply of materials and the manufacturing and logistics processes.

General investments also slowed for the industry as governments shifted focus to saving lives and reviving economies. But things  are starting to pick up now that the pandemic is  on a downward trend.

How Will Companies Ensure That Therapies Are Affordable?

Regulatory bodies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have been urged to be more flexible in their approval timelines to make therapies affordable. Discussions continue around access and ensuring these therapies are affordable, reimbursable and profitable for the biopharmaceutical companies that develop them.

What Will Academic And Industry Collaboration Look Like In This Space?

Academic and industry collaborations are expected to continue to expand and grow with noticeable impacts on the approval of products. Partnerships among academia, global pharmaceutical companies and small biotechs are expected to continue to shape the cell and gene therapy industry.

Longeveron’s Approach

Longeveron, a clinical-stage biotechnology company, is one example of a company in the industry that has seemingly done well even during the pandemic. The company reports developing cellular therapies for investigation in chronic aging-related and certain life-threatening conditions.

The company’s lead investigational product is Lomecel-B™, a cell-based therapy product, derived from culture-expanded medicinal signaling cells sourced from the bone marrow of young, healthy adult donors.

Longeveron believes using the same cells that promote formation of new blood vessels, enhance cell survival and proliferation, inhibit cell death, and modulate immune system function may result in safe and effective therapies for some of the most difficult disorders associated with aging and some medical disorders.

Longeveron is sponsoring Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials in the following indications: Aging frailty, Alzheimer’s disease, metabolic syndrome, acute respiratory distress syndrome and hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

The company’s mission is to advance Lomecel-B and other cell-based product candidates into pivotal Phase 3 trials to achieve regulatory approvals, subsequent commercialization and broad use by the healthcare community.

Photo by Edward Jenner from Pexels 

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