Recently launched non-profit seeks to enhance broad application, affordability, and access to advanced medicines, including CAR-T therapies
GAITHERSBURG, Md., Oct. 13, 2021 — Caring Cross, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to accelerating the development of advanced medicines and enabling access to cures for all patients, everywhere, announced that its Co-founder and Executive Director Boro Dropulić, Ph.D., M.B.A., will be a featured participant in the “Democratization of Access to Transformative Cell and Gene Therapies” panel at the Meeting on the Mesa 2021 conference in Carlsbad, CA. The annual meeting brings together senior executives and top decision-makers in the industry to advance cutting-edge research into and address commercialization opportunities involving cell and gene therapy.
Details of the presentation are as follows:
Panel: “Democratization of Access to Transformative Cell and Gene Therapies”
Event: Meeting on the Mesa 2021
Date: Wednesday, October 13, 2021
Time: 7:15-8:45 a.m. PT
“The clinical successes of CAR-T cell and other gene-therapies has opened the possibility for developing curative therapies for many diseases,” Dr. Dropulić said. “However, the current price of such therapies limits patient access, particularly in underserved and less-developed communities around the world. It is important that both non-profit and for-profit stakeholders work together to lower the cost of such therapies with business models that are impactful, sustainable and bring value to investors and stakeholders alike.”
Caring Cross recently launched its first initiative focused on CAR-T cell therapy utilizing manufacturing and distribution models that enable affordability and accessibility of these therapies to diverse patient populations and treatment indications. The non-profit aims to provide opportunities for both non-profit and for-profit innovators to change the way advanced medicines, like CAR-T cell therapies, are developed and how they are provided to patients in need.
In support of this endeavor, Caring Cross has created a community of highly experienced scientists, entrepreneurs and community advocates that are currently working with more than 100 clinical sites around the world to enable affordable and sustainable place-of-care manufacturing of CAR-T cells, with outstanding clinical results observed thus far.
Among Caring Cross’ affiliations is the Global Gene Therapy Initiative (GGTI), which was formed in 2020 to tackle the barriers to low-and middle-income countries (LMIC) inclusion in gene therapy development and includes diverse stakeholders from all sectors. GGTI has set a goal of introducing two gene therapy Phase I clinical trials in two LMIC, Uganda and India, by 2024.
GGTI recently published a paper in Gene Therapy entitled, “Working Group Report for the Global Gene Therapy Initiative (GGTI),” that points to the massive gap between the companies, clinics, and researchers developing advanced therapeutic approaches and their availability to the patients who need them. The paper details the geographic exclusion of LMIC in gene therapy development and patients’ lack of access to gene therapies in these areas, particularly for HIV infection and hemoglobinopathies – global health crises impacting tens of millions of people primarily located in LMIC.
Caring Cross was also recently awarded a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support the GGTI program for training of personnel from the Joint Clinical Research Center (JCRC) in Uganda on the methods for manufacturing gene-modified cell products. The training will occur at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle under the direction of Dr. Jennifer Adair.
“The Global Gene Therapy Initiative, or GGTI, is an alliance of scientists, engineers, clinical investigators and community advocates that aim to accelerate access to validated gene therapies in low- and middle-income countries, by grassroots community involvement, fostering education and training, infrastructure development and implementation of clinical trials,” Dr. Adair said. “Our goal is to implement clinical trials in countries like Uganda and India by 2024.”
Dr. Cissy Kityo, Executive Director of the JCRC, commented: “We are pleased to receive support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to train our personnel on how to manufacture gene-modified cell therapy products locally at our facilities and plan to implement clinical trials in the future targeting diseases such as HIV and Sickle Cell Disease.”
About Caring Cross
Caring Cross is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to accelerating the development of advanced medicines and ensuring access to cures for all patients, everywhere. To enable its mission, Caring Cross is mobilizing a growing community of healthcare professionals, scientists, engineers, community advocates, donors, investors and business leaders to support the development of technologies and candidate medicines and technologies. Currently, Caring Cross is advancing several initiatives that aim to improve the accessibility, affordability and applicability of CAR-T technology and stem cell gene therapy. These opportunities include developing and implementing affordable solutions for the manufacture of CAR-T cells, advancing a decentralized, place-of-care cell manufacturing model, and developing its first therapeutic candidate, an anti-HIV duoCAR-T cell therapy designed to suppress HIV replication and eliminate HIV-expressing cells in people with HIV. A stem cell gene therapy for Sickle Cell Disease and Beta-Thalassemia is also in development. For more information on Caring Cross visit https://caringcross.org/.