The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult approached Asymptote (now part of GE Healthcare) to apply its expertise in cryochain technology to develop a benchtop thawing device for the cryopreservation and delivery of cell and gene therapies.
Maintaining cell quality throughout the manufacture and transportation of these treatments is a major challenge. The process is often carried out in water baths across multiple sites, with inconsistencies due to a subjective determination of the thaw endpoint as well as the risk of water-borne contamination. Cell thawing is the final and least controlled part of the chryogenic cold chain management.
The collection and collation of data from thaw sites, often by paper records, also impedes therapy development. The final delivery, thaw and administration of these often-fragile therapies is therefore a crucial step, to ensure maximum therapeutic effect for the patient.
In partnership with Asymptote, two different prototypes were developed. The Catapult helped to make the technology suitable for cell and gene therapy workflows, generated IP, and provided market expertise, whilst Asymptote contributed its capabilities in engineering and design.
The subsequent acquisition of Asymptote by GE Healthcare in 2017 enabled Asymptote to significantly scale-up product development and reach a larger market. GE Asymptote’s Chronicle™ software was used to capture data generated at different points, standardising the process and managing documentation
GE Healthcare was renamed Cytiva in April 2020 following its acquisition by Danaher corporation. Cytiva launched the first liquid nitrogen-free cryogenic shipment system designed specifically for cell therapies in May 2020.