Pharma 5.0

Limula raises $6.8M to enhance accessibility to cell and gene therapies with manufacturing platform

Published: 21-May-2024

The company's platform combines the functionalities of a bioreactor and a centrifuge into one single closed vessel, and can handle a range of volumes and cell numbers

Limula, a life science startup, has raised USD $6.8M to take their solution for automating cell therapy manufacturing to the next stage of development.

The oversubscribed seed round was led by LifeX Ventures, with participation from Verve Ventures, Zühlke Ventures, Oxford Seed Fund, Lichtsteiner Foundation, W.A. de Vigier Foundation, the founders, and a lineup of private individuals who have been supporting Limula’s vision from its inception

Over the last decade, several breakthrough Cell and Gene Therapy products have been approved in the USA and Europe to turn stem and immune cells into ‘living cures’, bringing hope to millions living with life-threatening conditions. However, these treatments remain out of reach for 98% of patients suffering from what are now curable conditions. This is in part due to complex, manual and costly manufacturing processes. 


The challenges of commercialising cell and gene therapies

The company witnessed that outdated manufacturing methods were a speed bump to the adoption of Cell and Gene Therapy products like chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells.

Combining breakthrough discoveries in genetic engineering and medicine led to a revolution in medicine, but boosting the patients’ own cells to produce a dose in a laboratory still requires too many manual steps. Highly skilled labour and sterile infrastructures represent the majority of the costs of a therapy, leading to a price tag of $500,000 or more per dose. As a result, these treatments are inaccessible for a majority of eligible patients.


A scalable solution

To combat this, Limula developed a modular solution for on-demand and at-scale manufacturing of cell therapies in a single device. By combining the functionalities of a bioreactor and a centrifuge into one single closed vessel, Limula’s proprietary solution can handle a wide range of volumes and cell numbers, removing transfer steps and therefore limiting stress, losses and potential contamination.

With a potential for scalability, it can be used by cell therapy providers in their transition from pre-clinical evaluation to clinical trials, as well as for later commercial scale manufacturing of clinical-grade cell products.

Limula’s solution can handle a wide range of volumes and cell numbers, removing transfer steps 

Luc Henry, co-founder and CEO of Limula said: "Our team is driven by the ambitious goal of developing tools that are based on a fundamentally novel way of manipulating cells outside of the body. Our technology supports manufacturing workflows that are impossible to automate with existing tools. We believe automation is the only route to scalability and digital traceability. These two aspects are keys unlocking the full potential of Cell and Gene Therapy, making them accessible to the many, not just the few”.

After completing an initial proof of concept, the company launched a programme to provide selected industry and academic partners access to the platform ahead of its commercial launch. With the aim to broaden the scope of applications, Limula has signed partnerships with several research centres including San Raffaele Telethon Institute for Gene Therapy in Milan, Italy - a world-recognised centre for research and clinical translation of cell and gene therapy. 



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