Singapore’s SCG acquires key stem cell manufacturing technology for cancer treatment

January 13, 2022
Singapore’s SCG acquires key stem cell manufacturing technology for cancer treatment

Leading biotechnology company SCG Cell Therapy Pte Ltd (SCG), Singapore, has acquired the rights to human “induced pluripotent stem cell” (iPSC) technology for cancer treatment, from the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (“A*STAR”)’s Accelerate Technologies Pte Ltd. SCG will use the iPSC technology to develop novel natural killer (NK) cell therapy that is readily accessible to patients.

According to Dr. Adrian Teo, Principal Investigator at A*STAR’s Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, iPSC is a novel technology derived from skin or blood cells that are reprogrammed back into an embryonic-like pluripotent state. It can produce any type of human cell as required for all types of cell therapy for cancer treatment.

Cell therapy has revolutionised the treatment against aggressive and deadly cancers. But often, these therapies must be tailored to an individual patient to avoid severe side effects, delaying the manufacturing process, and pushing their price into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

As a critical component of the innate immune system, NK cells can be used as allogeneic cell therapy that is safe for individual transplant. NK cell-based cell therapy allows for off-the-shelf manufacturing, thus making it viable to be produced in large quantities and stored for extended periods. This significantly lowers manufacturing cost – by a whopping 10 times – as compared to autologous cell therapy products. A promising therapeutic option, the global NK cell therapeutics market is projected to reach US$5 billion by 2026, while venture investment in the sector totals hundreds of millions of dollars.

“The advanced iPSC technology developed by A*STAR provides a promising future in mass NK cell production, offering standardised, off-the-shelf cell therapy products at a more affordable cost and more readily available to patients,” said Frank Wang Shuli, CEO, SCG Cell Therapy.

“This collaboration furthers our mission and capabilities to develop novel immunotherapies for patients. Leveraging A*STAR’s iPSC technology with our expertise in cell therapy development will put SCG at the forefront of cell therapy development in Asia,” Frank added.

[Asia is home to almost half of the world’s cancer cases, and by 2030 this number is expected to surge by around 35%, with mortality rising by almost 40%.]

Read: Singapore’s SCG, HSA to develop novel treatment for Hepatitis B-related cancer

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