Collaboration aims to open up access to important new therapies
MEMPHIS, Tenn. and WEST WARWICK, R.I., Sept. 04, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Key Biologics LLC and Blood Centers of America (BCA) today announced an agreement to formalize their existing business relationship and to work collectively to broaden support for cell therapy and regenerative medicine. The agreement will enable deeper support of joint research and product development and provide valuable expertise needed for commercial therapies. Working together, the organizations will focus on removing barriers to the supply of critical raw materials needed for pre-clinical research and for clinical manufacturing of cell-based therapies.
The companies are both sponsors at the CAR-TCR Summit taking place this week in Boston, September 4-7 at the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center. Key Biologics will be at booth #43 and BCA will be at booth #44.
“Working with BCA and their extensive network, we believe we can speed patients’ access to important new therapies formulated from allogeneic and autologous raw materials that can be used to effectively treat conditions such as cancer, immune-based disorders, and inherited genetic disorders,” said Dr. Edward Scott, founder of Key Biologics. “The ability to access BCA’s unique database of well-characterized individuals who have explicitly expressed an interest in providing blood products to support research and product development will enhance our efforts significantly.”
Key Biologics recently completed a merger with Seattle-based Astarte Biologics adding highly complementary immunology expertise that will play a valuable role in expanding the combined company’s cell characterization, custom cell line and assay development capabilities. The addition of Astarte’s product and service line will allow BCA members and their customers to gain access to highly characterized cells and qualified cell lines. In conjunction with the merger, the company also received a growth equity investment from Ampersand Capital Partners to continue expanding the company in the rapidly evolving cell and gene therapy markets.
Going forward, Key and BCA will work together to leverage each organization’s resources and unique capabilities. For BCA members, the relationship will provide opportunities for support of new customers with a need for a distributed collection network or specific services not provided by Key. With BCA’s database of well-characterized individuals, Key can provide its customers access to raw materials from donors with specific characteristics, such as rare HLA type, that are not available in Key’s database. Additionally, with Key’s planned opening of collection sites in the Boston area and on the West Coast in Q1 2019, BCA’s service area will also expand allowing it to offer services to new customers in those areas.
“We are enthusiastic about the complementary nature of Key Biologics’ and the BCA members’ expertise and BCA’s national coverage” said Bill Block, CEO of BCA. “We believe that, in addition, our combined nationwide coverage and each organization’s strategic relationships will create new opportunities for BCA members to fulfill their mission of providing lifesaving products to patients. We have successfully worked with Key Biologics and Dr. Scott for many years and look forward to expanding our relationship.”
About Blood Centers of America (BCA)
BCA is the nation’s largest blood supply network, providing nearly 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply. This national organization is comprised of over 50 independent community blood centers and source plasma collection centers with a deep local commitment to the communities and patients they serve.
The BCA network encompasses over 600 collection and testing sites across the United States. In addition to meeting the transfusion needs of the communities they serve, BCA members provide human blood products, cells and tissue to the therapeutic, diagnostic and cell therapy industries. BCA members also collect and provide critical raw materials for manufacturing of all US-licensed autologous cell-based therapies. Collectively BCA’s members interact with nearly three million individual blood donors annually. BCA members also offer a broad range of services to support cell therapy development, including provision of healthy donor cellular products for research use, cell selection, processing and storage, and manufacturing of cell-based therapeutics. Key Biologics is an Associate Member of BCA.
About Key Biologics LLC
Memphis-based Key Biologics provides research- and clinical-grade human cells and blood products and related services to pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device and academic institutions around the world. The company is focused on advancing life science from discovery, through R&D, and into curing disease. The company began support of this industry in 1999 when its antecedent, Lifeblood Biological Services (LBS), was created by Dr. Edward Scott to meet the needs of biotech companies for well-characterized human biological materials to support research and development. Lifeblood’s recognition of the industry need and the business opportunity that resulted occurred a decade or more before other community blood centers embraced that view. Because of its long history and reputation, Key Biologics is viewed as the preferred partner for cell sourcing within the industry. With its recent merger with Astarte Biologics, the company now also offers the largest selection of characterized immune cells and reagents to help immunology and inflammation researchers accelerate their discovery efforts. All products are well characterized, tested negative for blood borne pathogens, and searchable by donor blood type, gender, age, ethnicity and disease state. For more information, visit www.keybiologics.com and www.astartebio.com.
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