Rockland Immunochemicals will co-develop Formula Pharmaceuticals’ Cytokine Induced Killer (CIK) cell-based Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) cancer immunotherapies, under a collaboration whose value was not disclosed.

Rockland agreed to provide and manage Formula’s preclinical research team, as well as provide classified research space in its 60,000-square-foot R&D facility for Formula’s preclinical development needs.

Rockland relocated within Pennsylvania to the Limerick, PA, facility in 2014. The expansion move was designed to address increased demand for life science research tools due to both continuing outsourcing by biopharmas and acquisitions made in recent years.

“Rockland can provide additional research support on an as-needed basis,” Formula president and CEO Maurits W. Geerlings said in a statement. “Rockland’s excellent R&D facilities and specialized research staff provide the most cost-effective and efficient way for developing and growing our product pipeline.”

Formula’s immunotherapy product pipeline is being developed for hematologic and solid tumor indications. The pipeline is based on a non-viral, allogeneic CIK CAR™ technology platform designed to leverage T cell and Natural Killer cell functionality within one effector cell population, sourced from healthy donor peripheral or cord blood.

Furthest along as of October, according to an update posted on the company’s website, is CIK-CAR.CD19, a pre-IND cancer immunotherapy being developed for acute lymphocytic leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma post–bone marrow transplantation.

The platform is intended to overcome practical and therapeutic limitations related to existing CAR-T approaches that include viral transfection, autologous blood, and T cells, according to Formula.

Both companies are privately held and based in the the Greater Philadelphia region; Formula is in Berwyn, PA.

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