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ARM Innovation Hub
28 August, 2020 - 18:06 By Tony Quested

US cancer company fast-tracks Cambridge facility

A US company personalising immune therapies for solid tumour cancers has raised further money to complete the Phase 1 buildout of a UK manufacturing facility in Sawston, Cambridge.

Northwest Biotherapeutics in Maryland raised $5 million growth capital on August 21 and has topped this up by securing a special purpose competitive loan of £1.35m ($1.77m) million from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

The business has construction crews working double shifts to accelerate completion of the plant and anticipates the Phase I buildout will finish by mid-October.

The buildout is the culmination of several years of design, development and preparatory activities and includes clean room suites, quarantined storage, quality control testing suites, controlled cryostorage (freezing) facilities for the finished products, as well as specialised systems (for example, for full air changes every 60 seconds in the clean room suites, and precise monitoring of particle counts in the clean room air).

The total cost of the accelerated construction project, initiated in June o, is around £3.5m ($4.6m).

Northwest is developing DCVax® personalised immune therapies for solid tumour cancers and is pursuing an intensive program of manufacturing preparations and planning as it approaches top line data from its Phase III trial. 

The company is dedicated to treat cancers more effectively than current treatments, without toxicities of the kind associated with chemotherapies, and on a cost-effective basis, in both North America and Europe. 

The company has a broad platform technology for DCVax® dendritic cell- based vaccines. Its lead program is a 331-patient Phase III trial of DCVax®-L for newly diagnosed Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). 

GBM is the most aggressive and lethal form of brain cancer and is an orphan disease. The company is also pursuing development of DCVax®- Direct for inoperable solid tumour cancers. It has completed a 40-patient Phase I trial, and is preparing for Phase II trials. 

The company previously conducted a Phase I/II trial with DCVax-L for advanced ovarian cancer together with the University of Pennsylvania.

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