US biotech Asterias Biotherapeutics is bringing onboard the UK’s Cell Therapy Catapult to advance development of a large scale manufacturing processes for its cancer vaccine AST-VAC2.

AST-VAC2 is an allogeneic cancer vaccine designed to stimulate patient immune responses to telomerase, which is expressed in over 95% of human cancers but is rarely expressed in normal adult cells. 

Under the agreement, the Cell Therapy Catapult will streamline and scale manufacturing processes for the vaccine to supply future advanced clinical trials and commercialisation of the product. 

AST-VAC2 is on the bring of entering a Phase II clinical trial targeting lung cancer, which is being carried out in collaboration with Cancer Research UK. 

As part of the new agreement, Asterias is also planning a subsidiary in the UK, to help it communicate and collaborate effectively with the Cell Therapy Catapult and other major partners in the country.