WATERTOWN, Mass.– SQZ Biotechnologies (NYSE: SQZ) announced today that the company will present data from the first non-clinical studies of its point-of-care (POC) manufacturing system at the 2022 American Society for Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT) Annual Meeting on May 18. The data will demonstrate an ability to produce SQZ® cell therapy candidates with comparable or improved performance relative to conventional clean room manufacturing processes. In addition, SQZ announced a collaboration with STEMCELL Technologies to co-develop and commercialize a research-use-only (RUO) microfluidic intracellular delivery system. The new RUO system will be based on SQZ’s Cell Squeeze® technology and will offer the life sciences community access to a unique cell engineering capability to advance preclinical research. These activities support SQZ’s mission to unlock the full potential of cell therapies for multiple therapeutic areas.
“SQZ’s vision is to improve patient care by creating transformative cell therapies that can be broadly accessible around the world through rapid, cost-efficient manufacturing,” said Armon Sharei, Ph.D., CEO and Founder at SQZ Biotechnologies. “We are advancing these important goals through the development of our POC manufacturing system, which has the potential to substantially improve the accessibility and economic feasibility of cell therapies. Through our collaboration with STEMCELL, we intend to broaden technology access for research use and hope to facilitate advancement of the cell therapy field by the life sciences community.”
“This is an exciting collaboration that combines STEMCELL’s life sciences research and product development capabilities with SQZ’s cell engineering expertise,” said Allen Eaves, M.D., Ph.D., President and CEO of STEMCELL Technologies. “The development of this RUO system, which will be well complemented by our various cell isolation and culture product portfolios, will provide the research community with a significant opportunity for their cell engineering investigations. By adapting the proven Cell Squeeze® technology, with its ability to deliver multiple biological cargoes to a range of cell types, we anticipate the RUO system will offer enhanced flexibility to the scientific community. We look forward to our continued collaboration with SQZ and the development of this system.”
SQZ’s Cell Squeeze® technology has enabled the development of three oncology therapeutic candidates in active Phase 1/2 clinical trials. In addition to these programs, the company intends to file its first IND using the POC system for a SQZ® TAC clinical candidate against celiac disease in the first half of 2023. The Cell Squeeze® technology has also led to a number of preclinical developments in the areas of infectious disease and cell regeneration.
SQZ’s automated POC manufacturing system in development integrates, among other things, cell isolation, cell washing, intracellular delivery, and product filling. The system is designed to process patient material within a closed, single-use sterile disposable kit. The prototype system offers the potential to be operated outside of a clean room—which could ultimately allow decentralized cell therapy manufacturing by SQZ® POC systems in a variety of care settings. SQZ will present data from the initial non-clinical studies of the POC system at ASGCT.
STEMCELL Technologies will present data from the first functional study findings for the RUO system at the ASGCT Annual Meeting. The data will demonstrate an ability to efficiently deliver cargoes to primary immune cell types. SQZ will also present new cell engineering data in hematopoietic stem cells using mRNA and CRISPR/Cas9 at the meeting.