Brazil and Caring Cross to Produce Affordable CAR-T, Stem Cell Gene Therapies

Brazil

Pictured: Aerial panorama of Botafogo Bay and Sugar Loaf Mountain, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil iStock/marchello74

Caring Cross, a U.S.-based nonprofit has reached a collaboration agreement with Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz), a foundation from the Brazilian Ministry of Health, to develop local manufacturing of CAR-T cell and stem cell gene therapies in Brazil. 

Under the agreement, CAR-T therapies will be developed to treat leukemia, lymphoma, and HIV, as well as other treatments for oncology, infectious disease, and genetic diseases in Brazil.

“With local production, the treatment will be available free of charge to the population, and the cost to the Brazilian public health system would be reduced to 10% of the amount currently charged in Europe and the USA, dropping to $35,000 per dose,” according to the announcement. 

The terms of the agreement will have Caring Cross provide the technology, training and materials to Fiocruz's Institute of Technology on Immunobiologicals to manufacture the therapies and the lentiviral vectors that can be used for further clinical development and approval.

According to Caring Cross, the early stages of the program will focus on CAR-T cell therapies for leukemia and lymphoma, as well as improved versions of products already treating patients. The collaboration will also look to advance a “therapeutic product” to treat HIV, which is currently in a clinical trial and is seen as a potential cure.

“Our collaboration with Fiocruz marks a significant step forward in making CAR-T cell therapies more accessible in Brazil and Latin America,” Boro Dropulić, the executive director of Caring Cross, said in a statement. “By sharing our knowledge and expertise, this collaboration will establish local manufacturing capabilities for our innovative CAR-T cell manufacturing platform. When integrated with local point-of-care manufacturing, this approach enables us to drastically cut production expenditures and enable access to these therapies at a fraction of the cost compared to the U.S. and Europe.”

The nonprofit said it has already developed manufacturing processes that have “significantly decreased” the material cost of manufacturing CAR-T cell therapy products. 

Caring Cross added that its deal with Fiocruz, which is exclusive to Brazil and Latin America, will allow for affordable access to these therapies to the Brazilian public health system and access to materials and training needed in the region. 

“We are confident to partner with Caring Cross, which possesses deep expertise in the technologies used for CAR-T cell therapy production,” Mario Moreira, president of Fiocruz, said in a statement. “This technology transfer empowers Fiocruz to produce these vital CAR-T cells and other therapies in a cost-effective manner and equips our organization with the necessary capabilities to become a central hub for developing and manufacturing advanced medicines, including CAR-T cell therapies, across Latin America.”

Caring Cross started its first production initiative in 2021, focusing on CAR-T cell therapies for HIV treatment using affordable manufacturing and distribution models. 

Tyler Patchen is a staff writer at BioSpace. You can reach him at tyler.patchen@biospace.com. Follow him on LinkedIn.

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