Cesca Therapeutics’ CTO Talks CAR-T Manufacturing

The cellular composition of whole blood. Source: Lonza.
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Cesca Therapeutics Inc. is in the business of developing, commercializing and marketing a range of automated technologies for CAR-T and other cell-based therapies. The device division, ThermoGenesis Corp., provides a full suite of solutions for automated clinical biobanking, point-of-care applications, and automation for immuno-oncology. An automated, functionally-closed CAR-TXpress™ platform to streamline the manufacturing process for the emerging CAR-T immunotherapy market is under development.

Phil Coelho is the chief technology officer (CTO) of the ThermoGenesis device division. He was recently interviewed by Cell & Gene Therapy Insights.  The contents are published in “Driving CAR-T Manufacture Optimization through Technology Innovation,” of Volume 0404 2018 of the journal.

Mr. Coelho highlighted long treatment times and high costs as areas of potential improvement for CAR-T manufacturers to target. He considers cell losses of 50-90% during the typical isolation and manufacturing process to be avoidable through automation such as the company’s proprietary Buoyancy Activated Cell Sorting (BACS) technology which more efficiently isolates cells of interest from a complex mixture, such as blood. In the BACS system antibody coated microbubbles isolate cells during media centrifugation in which the target cells float to the top, while the non-target cells sink to the bottom for automated depletion.

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Cesca recently presented a poster at the 2018 meeting of the International Society Cellular Therapy in Montréal, Canada, illustrating that BACS resulted in higher target cell recovery rates, with greater levels of viability and purity, relative to more traditional ficoll-based and magnetic bead-based isolation procedures.

“We believe that our automated modules, when compared to legacy manual systems, provide meaningful performance gains in purifying mononuclear cells (MNCs), washing contaminants from cell fractions, antibody selection and activation of T-cells, while significantly shortening processing times,” … “At a minimum, we expect a 10–20% improvement in processing performance at every manufacturing step than obtained from existing manual processes.” – Phil Coelho – CTO ThermoGenesis Corp.



  1. https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2018/05/23/1510788/0/en/Cesca-Therapeutics-Chief-Technology-Officer-Phil-Coelho-Provides-Deep-Dive-into-the-CAR-T-Manufacturing-Process-in-Cell-Gene-Therapy.html
  2. http://insights.bio/cell-and-gene-therapy-insights/?bio_journals=driving-car-t-manufacture-optimization-through-technology-innovation