The Novo Nordisk Foundation is embarking on a mission to establish a pivotal “hub” within the cell therapy ecosystem by allocating 950 million Danish kroner (approximately $136 million) to develop a state-of-the-art clinical production site at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) in Lyngby. Named the Cellerator, this cutting-edge facility is set to serve a diverse clientele, including academia, biotech, and the pharmaceutical industry, with construction scheduled to commence in the upcoming summer, aiming for operational readiness by 2027.
The Cellerator’s primary objective is to address a significant void within the current cell therapy landscape, as highlighted by Thomas H.R. Carlsen, CEO of the Cellerator. Many promising cell therapies that demonstrate success in laboratory testing often face insurmountable hurdles when transitioning to human trials, primarily due to the complexities associated with their development and large-scale production.
To bridge this critical gap, the Novo Nordisk Foundation will play a pivotal role. The Cellerator will be dedicated to advancing the testing of cell therapies that have already proven successful in animal models while also enabling the consistent and scalable manufacturing of these therapies for early clinical trials.
The centre’s scope will encompass various types of cell therapies, including those derived from embryonic stem cells, pluripotent stem cells, and adult stem cells. It will offer a comprehensive range of services, spanning from process development and manufacturing to product release and regulatory support.
The facility’s physical footprint will span 5,000 square metres (approximately 53,820 square feet), incorporating laboratories for process development and manufacturing.
At its inception, the Cellerator currently employs nearly 10 professionals specialised in cell therapy development and manufacturing. The goal is to expand the workforce to approximately 70 employees over time. Addressing the pressing workforce shortage within this field is a priority, and the foundation aims to address this challenge through its partnership with the DTU.
The Cellerator is set to become Denmark’s first large-scale production site for cell therapies, complementing the existing small-scale production facilities in some hospitals across the country. Beyond serving the Danish cell therapy ecosystem, the Cellerator will extend its services to international clients.
Novo Nordisk envisions the facility as a potential “knowledge hub” not only for Denmark but also for Europe as a whole, fostering collaboration and partnerships in the field.
The Cellerator will operate as a limited liability company, fully owned and funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation, and function as an independent philanthropic initiative. Substantial revenues generated by the Cellerator will be reinvested in the venture, as part of its mission to advance cell therapy research and development.