Draper signed an agreement with Kite, a Gilead Company, to accelerate development of cancer immunotherapies. Pictured is a device concept of Draper’s transduction system. Credit: Draper.

“Over the next decade, cell and gene therapies are poised to make groundbreaking improvements in health care on a worldwide basis,” said Tara Clark, Vice President of Commercial Business at Draper.

Today, Draper announced a multi-year strategic technology collaboration with Kite, a Gilead Company, to enhance Kite’s development of pipeline cell therapies using Draper’s engineering services and portfolio of cell bioprocessing technologies. Draper’s technologies will enable Kite to improve next-generation cell therapies and increase cell manufacturing throughput.

The collaboration will provide Kite with access to technology and engineering services for developing cancer immunotherapy products with a primary focus on genetically engineered T cell therapies. Kite is the first company with multiple approved chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapies.

Over the past several years, Draper has developed technology that advances the manufacturing efficiency of cell and gene therapies by leveraging expertise in the areas of precision microfluidics, gene delivery, integrated sensing, customization and automation. Several Fortune 500 pharmaceutical companies have partnered with Draper to improve the efficiency of developing new therapies.

“Over the next decade, cell and gene therapies are poised to make groundbreaking improvements in health care on a worldwide basis. Draper applauds Kite for its leadership in cell therapy and we look forward to supporting its effort to expand novel treatments for patients living with cancer,” said Tara Clark, Vice President of Commercial Business at Draper.

Because cell and gene therapies are often patient specific, there is a critical unmet need for better manufacturing solutions. For example, T cell therapies for cancer involve collecting T cells from a patient’s blood, genetically modifying them to recognize and attack cancer cells and then reinfusing them to the patient. Given the size of the patient population that could benefit from these potentially curative treatments, efficient and scalable manufacturing is essential.

Clark added, “Our goal in Draper’s Biomedical Solutions business is to equip customers with the capabilities to increase cell therapy manufacturing efficiency and allow for the needs of production scalability.”

Draper’s biomedical solutions portfolio includes an acoustic enrichment microfluidic system that combines precision control of flow with acoustophoresis to optimize the purity of lymphocytes collected; a microfluidic electroporation system that enables continuous highly efficient transfection without compromising cell viability or throughput; a microfluidic transduction system, which can effectively transduce higher numbers of cells by co-localizing cells with vector; and a buffer exchange system that enables continuous and in-line cell washing and concentration.


At Draper, we believe exciting things happen when new capabilities are imagined and created. Whether formulating a concept and developing each component to achieve a field-ready prototype or combining existing technologies in new ways, Draper engineers apply multidisciplinary approaches that deliver new capabilities to customers. As a not-for-profit engineering innovation company, Draper focuses on the design, development and deployment of advanced technological solutions for the world’s most challenging and important problems. We provide engineering solutions directly to government, industry and academia, work on teams as prime contractor or subcontractor, and participate as a collaborator in consortia. We provide unbiased assessments of technology or systems designed or recommended by other organizations—custom designed, as well as commercial-off-the-shelf.


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