Prioritising patient access

Doug Doerfler, Chief Executive Officer, MaxCyte

The life sciences industry has entered a golden age of innovation. Next-generation sequencing and many other tools provide tremendous new insights into human biology. Emerging techniques, such as CRISPR technology and cell and gene therapies are providing new opportunities to treat and possibly even cure some of the most intractable diseases.

In his blog, Doug Doerfler, Chief Executive Officer of MaxCyte shares how the company helps advance a new generation of cell-based therapies and overcome the challenges of standardization of the manufacturing workflow.

In theory, these revolutionary technologies should change the therapeutic trajectory for patients worldwide – but that is not always the case. There are still many diseases that resist our best efforts to treat them, including some cancers, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, autoimmune disorders and many others.

In addition, even when treatments have been developed, patients do not always have access to them. While people who live in wealthy nations may take it for granted that they will receive the best available medicines, regardless of cost, people in emerging economies struggle to receive that same level of care. In recent years, even rich nations have struggled with drug costs. 

Besides cost challenges, the diversity of cell lines used in the development of therapeutics was not always representative of the population needing treatment. Advancements in science and gene editing technology are now unlocking the ability to work with a much more diverse range of cells, from a multitude of donors, ultimately building a pipeline that will bring therapies to populations who may not have had access in the past.

People in the life sciences have long lamented the sheer inefficiency of the drug discovery process. It can cost upwards of £1 billion, and take 10 years or more, to bring a new medicine to market. In addition, around 90% of potential drugs fail in clinical trials. This combination of high development costs and low success rates has a resounding impact on drug prices and, ultimately, patient access to the most suitable treatments.

In other words, the problem is the pipeline, which leads directly to MaxCyte’s mission to help advance a new generation of cell-based therapies. The drug development pipeline is made up of thousands of individual workflows – some can and must be accelerated. This is particularly relevant in cell therapy, where standardization of the manufacturing workflow is a challenge.

Cell Engineering is a critical step in many applications and selecting a transfection approach is a critical decision. Drug developers have used viral vectors or chemicals to transfect DNA into cells, two approaches that can be notoriously slow and inefficient. MaxCyte has chosen to innovate and optimize electroporation as a safe and efficient transfection technology.

We have spent over 20 years developing and perfecting our Flow Electroporation technology. With hands-on support from our field scientists, MaxCyte partners with drug developers worldwide to help accelerate their therapies’ time to market and enhance access for all patients. We want to save lives, that’s what drives us, and we will keep working as hard as we can to make our vision a reality.


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