Sweden-Based Vycellix Opens U.S. HQ in Tampa
The Vycellix team, which will initially include its senior executive and administrative staff, is scheduled to occupy the new space adjacent to the Moffitt Cancer Center in April. James Mulé, associate center director for Translational Science at Moffitt Cancer Center, hailed the company’s decision to come to Florida. Mulé said there are “collective synergies” between the two organizations to collaborate and develop next-generation cell-based immunotherapies for cancer.
Vycellix’s platform technologies hold the potential to enhance many of the current immuno-oncology therapies being developed at Moffitt, including TIL (tumor infiltrating lymphocytes), TCR (T cell receptor), and CAR-T (chimeric antigen receptor T cell) therapies,” Mulé said in a statement.
Vycellix has a portfolio of small molecule & RNA modulators designed to address current limitations for cell & gene therapies, including the need to accelerate speed of production, lower costs, ensure end-cell viability and persistence, and improve patient outcomes. The company said its innovative solutions offer the potential to significantly optimize processes for: cell reprogramming; enhancing cell potency; and improving cell expansion. Additionally, Vycellix said it is leveraging its assets to develop an early-stage pipeline of multifaceted, next generation natural killer (NK) cell therapies targeting hematological malignancies and solid tumors, including its RONK (Retargeted Optimized NK cell) therapy.
According to the company website, its RONK therapy is currently in preclinical development for lymphoid cancers. The company anticipates filing an Investigational New Drug Application for RONK in 2021. Also, the company anticipates filing an IND for another preclinical candidate, VY-201, a sRNA therapy also for lymphoid cancers.
“The field of cancer immunotherapy is currently dominated by checkpoint therapies and CAR-T, which are, in select cases, highly effective. However, Vycellix’s mission is to fundamentally resolve many of the issues that limit the broad, global adoption of such therapies. We believe our ability to impact these challenges will be accelerated by collaborating with global immuno-oncology research leaders including those in the Tampa region,” Vycellix’s Chief Executive Officer Evren Alici said in a statement.
Like Mulé from the Moffitt Center, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn also hailed the company’s move to Florida. Buckhorn said the Tampa area continues to grow as a hub for life science and biotech companies, largely due to the presence of the Moffitt Cancer Center.
“It’s exciting to see an industry cluster form around the treatment of cancers, and we welcome Vycellix to the area,” Buckhorn said.