Century Therapeutics Makes Bold Move in Autoimmune Disease and Cell Therapy

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Century Therapeutics, a pioneering biotech company developing induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived cell therapies, announced a transformative set of initiatives that could reshape the landscape of cell therapy in cancer and autoimmune diseases.

The centerpiece is an ambitious expansion of Century’s lead program CNTY-101, a novel CD19-targeting immune cell therapy, into multiple autoimmune indications beyond the previously planned systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) trial. This strategic pivot is backed by a $60 million private financing round and bolstered by the acquisition of Clade Therapeutics.

CNTY-101 is an allogeneic, iPSC-derived natural killer (iNK) cell therapy that has shown promising potential in eradicating cancerous B-cells in early clinical trials. Century believes its unique design, including gene edits to enable repeat dosing without lymphodepletion, could make it an ideal therapy for autoimmune diseases driven by B-cell dysregulation.

“We’ve seen compelling translational data pointing to CNTY-101’s potential in diseases like lupus,” said Century CEO Brent Pfeiffenberger. “This financing allows us to aggressively pursue that opportunity across multiple autoimmune indications with high unmet need.”

While the SLE trial remains on track for 2024, Century plans additional regulatory filings for CNTY-101 in autoimmune diseases in the second half of this year, supported by the $60 million raise from investors like Bain Capital Life Sciences and Adage Capital.

But the company didn’t stop there. Century also acquired Clade Therapeutics and its innovative iPSC-derived alpha beta T-cell platform for $35 million upfront, with potential future milestones. The deal adds three promising preclinical cancer and autoimmune programs to Century’s pipeline.

More importantly, it provides Century with next-generation capabilities to manufacture highly-functional, engineered T-cell therapies from iPSCs, something the field has long sought after.

“Clade’s groundbreaking platform replicates the natural T-cell development process, overcoming key limitations of current therapies,” said Century R&D President Hy Levitsky, M.D. “Combined with our iPSC-derived NK and gamma delta T-cells, this gives us unparalleled ability to create potential cures across a wide range of diseases.”

The move establishes Century as a preeminent player in allogeneic, off-the-shelf iPSC cell therapy, with an arsenal of NK cells, alpha beta T-cells, and gamma delta T-cells for oncology and autoimmune diseases. It diversifies the pipeline with complementary assets while providing a renewable cell source to manufacture consistent, high-quality therapies.

While still in early stages, some analysts view this as an aggressive and smart play by Century to stay ahead of the competition in this rapidly evolving space. By expanding into autoimmune diseases, acquiring transformative technology, and putting significant capital behind it all, Century is cementing its position as an iPSC cell therapy leader looking to deliver on the modality’s long-awaited promise.


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