Based in Cologne, Germany, Cevec Pharmaceuticals has been operational since 2004 and built a patent-protected protein-expression platform based on primary human amniocytes. The company just raised an additional $8.6 million funding in July 2011 to further expand its CAP Technology platform. The core technology comprises CAP® and CAP-T™ cells that are designed for stable and transient protein production.
Derived from immortalized human amniocytes, both cell lines have been adapted to serum-free suspension culture and allow for large-scale production of complex biopharmaceutical molecules, monoclonal antibodies, and various vaccines including viruses.
CEVEC business model includes the out-licensing of CAP and CAP-T cells to biotech and pharma customers as well as the advancement of its BioBetter candidates through partnerships with clinical developers.
Rainer Lichtenberger, CEO, comments, “We’re convinced that the versatile human CAP Technology will soon become a leading production platform for all protein and vaccine production needs. The unique advantages are identical and highest product qualities provided by CAP and CAP-T. Therefore, the costly and time-consuming classical switch of transient and stable cell expression like the 293/CHO switch in upstream cell-line development can be avoided.”
Managing director and CCO, Wolfgang Kintzel, added, “With the recent raisure of $8.6 million in financing from our lead investors NRW.BANK and Creathor Venture Fonds, among others, we’re in the fortunate position to further develop the CAP Technology to the protein and vaccine production system of choice, spanning the entire preclinical and clinical development spectrum. The attractiveness of cell-based human vaccines has been also highlighted recently through the $2.3 billion acquisition of Crucell and the human PER.C6 cell line by J&J in 2010.”
CEVEC is expecting to close an additional significant financing round in late 2011 to further push various promising vaccine projects like hCMV, RSV and influenza to Phase I/IIa.
Lichtenberger concludes, “We have already signed several license agreements with well-known pharma companies and are in further negotiations with more than 40 potential industry customers. With both, a broad roll-out of CAP derived high-value vaccine projects and the offering of a powerful and versatile protein/antibody-production platform, the company aims therefore at an attractive exit in 2015 achieving evaluations beyond €200 million.”
About the Company
CEVEC Pharmaceuticals was founded 2001 in Cologne by a group of entrepreneurial scientists who wanted to capitalize on a proprietary protein-expression platform derived from human amniocytes. These primary cells are derived from the amniotic fluid and can be collected by amniocentesis, a clinical routine diagnostic procedure performed on pregnant women.
The primary amniocytes were subsequently immortalized and adapted to suspension culture and serum-free growth conditions. CAP cells are accepted without reservation by ethics committees and Institutional Review Boards. A Master Cell Bank has been established and certified according to GMP/GLP guidelines. The CAP Technology is the only technology to date that theoretically provides unlimited access to develop new human cell lines—a technological advance for future biomanufacturing.
Currently, CEVEC employs 21 highly specialized scientists, process engineers, and technicians and is lead by an experienced management team. The rented facilities include 750 square meters of state-of-the art lab and office space, fully equipped to support cell-line development and process-development projects.
CEVEC offers its CAP and CAP-T cell systems to pharmaceutical and biotech companies as well as contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs). CAP cells are made available under flexible license conditions, through collaborations and contract service agreements. Opportunities range from short-term feasibility studies in CAP cells and production arrangements with CMOs up to licensing for complete clinical development and market supply for biopharmaceuticals.
For successful implementation of the CAP Technology, CEVEC provides comprehensive documentation and technical guidance. Additionally, CEVEC offers contract services to complement the CAP Technology, such as the generation of protein-expression vectors, the development of stable and transient production cell lines, and small-scale process development.