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Xcell Biosciences Strengthens Cell and Gene Therapy Collaboration With Labcorp

Longstanding partnership deepens with new financing, beta access to clinical manufacturing instruments, and AACR data presentations


April 1, 2024


Xcell Biosciences Inc. (Xcellbio), an instrumentation company focused on cell and gene therapy applications, today announced it has added new elements to its research collaboration agreement with Labcorp, a global leader of innovative and comprehensive laboratory services. Through the expanded collaboration, Labcorp will participate in the beta program for Xcellbio’s clinical manufacturing line of AVATAR™ instruments and has been given an observer seat on the company’s board of directors. In exchange, Labcorp has increased its strategic investment in Xcellbio. Financial details of the investment were not disclosed. The companies will be jointly presenting results from their existing cell and gene therapy collaboration at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

“Incorporating AVATAR technology into Labcorp’s robust cell and gene therapy development program will allow us to deliver decision-enabling results to our clients around the world and, ultimately, will help us drive precision healthcare for a broad range of patients.”

Xcellbio has developed the AVATAR incubator system for cell therapy research and development. Its latest platform, the AVATAR Foundry system, is a cGMP cell therapy manufacturing platform that delivers novel capabilities for improving the potency of cell therapies. These capabilities are especially important for cell therapies targeting solid tumors, which are frequently met with challenges in overcoming the harsh immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME) to achieve durable potency at the target tumor site. The AVATAR and AVATAR Foundry systems offer small-scale research and process development as well as scale-up manufacturing platforms for metabolically reprogramming therapeutic cells to improve their potency and persistence in the TME.

“We have worked closely with the Xcellbio team for years and have been continually impressed by their dedication to improving the development and manufacture of cell and gene therapies,” said Maryland Franklin, Ph.D., vice president and enterprise head of cell and gene therapy at Labcorp, who has now joined Xcellbio’s board of directors as an observer. “Incorporating AVATAR technology into Labcorp’s robust cell and gene therapy development program will allow us to deliver decision-enabling results to our clients around the world and, ultimately, will help us drive precision healthcare for a broad range of patients.”


Through the expanded collaboration, Labcorp’s preclinical oncology site in Ann Arbor, Mich., will become a beta site for the AVATAR Foundry system. More information about the beta access program is available at https://www.xcellbio.com/gmp.

“We are proud to be a trusted partner for Labcorp, who recognizes that key partnerships will help unlock what’s possible in the development of cell and gene therapies,” said Brian Feth, co-founder and CEO at Xcellbio. “We look forward to deepening our ties as we continue on our shared mission of developing safer, more effective treatments for more patients and a wide array of diseases.”


Poster Presentations at AACR

Along with scientific collaborators at Labcorp, Xcell team members will be presenting two posters at the upcoming AACR annual meeting, taking place April 5-10 in San Diego.

Poster #3908: Generation of new oncology cell models through long-term acclimation under hypoxic and hyperbaric culture conditionsPresenter: Yewei Xing, LabcorpSummary: In this poster, scientists will show that long-term acclimation of conventional tumor cell lines to conditions reflective of the TME alters their phenotype and gene expression profiles.

Poster #6334: Metabolic reprogramming enhances expansion and potency of CAR-T cellsPresenter: Candy Garcia and James Lim, XcellbioSummary: This presentation will illustrate how manufacturing CD19 CAR T cells in optimized environmental conditions can enhance their expansion potential and potency, as measured with an in vitro tumor killing assay.


About Xcell Biosciences

Xcellbio is driven by its mission to enhance the performance and safety of cell and gene-based therapies through the design and development of revolutionary technology platforms. The company’s commercial instruments and AI-driven software allow researchers to discover novel insights into immune and tumor biology and enable the translation of these insights at patient scale through the development of its pioneering cGMP cell therapy manufacturing platform. Based in San Francisco, Xcellbio can also be found online at www.xcellbio.com.


About Labcorp

Labcorp (NYSE: LH) is a global leader of innovative and comprehensive laboratory services that helps doctors, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, researchers and patients make clear and confident decisions. We provide insights and advance science to improve health and improve lives through our unparalleled diagnostics and drug development laboratory capabilities. The company's more than 67,000 employees serve clients in over 100 countries, worked on over 84% of the new drugs approved by the FDA in 2023 and performed more than 600 million tests for patients around the world. Learn more about us at www.labcorp.com.

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