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CytoImmune Therapeutics Establishes Operations in Puerto Rico to Develop Novel Cancer Immunotherapy Products

March 12, 2021
  • The initiative marks Invest Puerto Rico’s first top-to-bottom effort in securing investment in the Island to further economic development
  • CytoImmune seeks to leverage Puerto Rico’s 60-year legacy of excellence in the life science sector
  • The $28 million investment entails the creation of approximately 100 high-paying jobs and strengthens Puerto Rico’s role as a manufacturing hub

San Juan, Puerto Rico – Invest Puerto Rico (InvestPR), the Island’s economic development organization, along with the Puerto Rico Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC), announces that CytoImmune Therapeutics Puerto Rico LLC (“CTPR”) will establish cell therapy operations in Puerto Rico in 2021 with the aim of developing novel, coordinate immunotherapy solutions for cancer patients.

The new company, an affiliate of the California-based CytoImmune Therapeutics, organized under the provisions established by the Puerto Rico Incentives Code (known as Act 60) will be the first of its kind on the Island. Its purpose will be to conduct R&D and manufacturing in a 37,000 square foot facility in Toa Baja, a municipality on the Island’s north coast.

CytoImmune has been developing and commercializing novel cancer immunotherapy products designed to utilize the power of the patient’s own immune system to eliminate cancer cells. This happens through proprietary Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) engineered T cells (CAR-T) technology, as well as an approach for natural killer (NK) cell immunotherapy that involves a CAR NK cell. This technology enables the cell to recognize specific proteins or antigens present on the surface of tumor cells.

Manufacturing of the CAR NK cells for first-inhuman phase 1 clinical trials will be performed in CytoImmune’s Puerto Rico facilities. Because of the ability to freeze and viably thaw these CAR NK cells, multiple institutions can be involved in the early phase clinical trials, including some in Puerto Rico, thereby hastening accrual in each clinical stage.

The initiative represents an investment of $28 million in the Island ($8 million by CTPR with co-investment of $17 million by CytoImmune), including machinery and equipment. It’s a step toward advancing personalized medicine in the territory as well: CTPR expects to hire up to 100 highly remunerated professionals with an estimated total payroll of $7 million per year.

“CytoImmune Therapeutics Puerto Rico is a leader in the field of cell therapy and immunotherapy for the treatment of cancers. This is an excellent opportunity to establish an R&D facility in Toa Baja. CTPR with this remarkable scientific discovery will bring hope to many of the sick people with cancer worldwide,” says Bernardo Márquez García, the mayor of Toa Baja. “We understand that our Municipality and Puerto Rico can benefit from the 100+ jobs, and my administration will support CytoImmune’s development.”

Will Rosellini, Co-founder and President of CytoImmune, noted, “Puerto Rico was the obvious choice for expanding our operations. The Island, with its proven history in the life science sector, has what it takes to support our research and development, including a deep talent pool, supportive business climate, and many other high-value intangibles.”

‍About CytoImmune Therapeutics, Inc.

CytoImmune Therapeutics was founded on the proprietary Natural Killer (NK) cell expansion technology pioneered by Michael Caligiuri and Jianhu Yu. The Company is focused on expanding its manufacturing technologies to enable numerous clinical studies across various cancers.

About Biosciences Corp, LLC

Biosciences Corp is a consulting company based in San Ramon, California, focused on Biologics, Gene and Cell Therapy strategy, Regulatory, Facility Design, and Process Development supporting start-ups to commercialization.

About Invest Puerto Rico

Invest Puerto Rico is the economic development organization created by law to promote Puerto Rico abroad as a competitive jurisdiction for investment, focused on attracting new businesses and capital to foster economic growth on the Island. Our vision is to be an entity focused on results that accelerates Puerto Rico’s transformation and generates more and better jobs on the Island.

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Jennifer Conde

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