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SII collaborates with Univercells for affordable cancer care

Serum Institute of India (SII) is collaborating with Univercells to bring affordable personalised oncology to the masses. Univercells is a Belgian biotech company working on increasing accessibility to personalised cancer care. This partnership aims to bring cutting-edge treatment options within reach of millions globally, Univercells said.

“At present, personalised care options such as novel cancer vaccines and specialised immunotherapies are accessible to a few patients only. These new therapies, developed using genetic material extracted from the patient’s tumors, are time-consuming and expensive.

Besides, due to strict regulatory limitations on the sequence, transfer, and manufacturing of genetic material, these treatments are only available in a handful of countries,” the company said.

This collaboration between SII and Univercells would address these challenges and look at capturing a proportion of the global cancer care market.

This collaboration with Univercells would strengthen the accessibility of cancer care therapies, which may be a boon for cancer treatment worldwide, especially in the LMICs, said Dr Umesh Shaligram, executive director, R&D, SII.

“Relapse rates for many cancers are very high, especially for patients who are diagnosed at a later stage. To address this, we are developing unique point-of-care cancer treatment using mRNA in combination with our Recombinant BCG (VPM1002),” Dr Shaligram said.

The technology can cut months off the time to create a personalised therapeutic without compromising quality, José Castillo, CTO and co-founder of Univercells said.

“We have completely redesigned the manufacturing process from first principles and believe that we can save up to 90% of the costs of producing these medicines compared to traditional approaches,” he said. Univercells said its technology also supported very small-scale, local production, this allowed countries, and even hospitals, to provide personalised therapies produced locally.

Univercells and SII would look at accelerating the progress of new medicines. Currently, the average time for a cancer therapy to go from patenting to use by patients is close to 15 years in the UK. “Our target is to reduce that delay to just three years,” Castillo said. The partnership would look to produce personalized therapeutics, that met the highest standards, were acceptable to regulators and reached patients who needed them before it was too late for them.

SII was the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer with a global footprint of any pharma company, with operations in dozens of countries. With SII’s global reach, these therapies could reach patients in Europe, India and the African continent. The Financial Express

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