Natco Pharma has invested approximately $2 million in Cellogen Therapeutics Private Ltd, a Delhi based biotech start-up.

“Cellogen’s area of research work involving innovative and cost-effective cell and gene therapies for addressing various oncological, haematological and metabolic diseases is in line with our core value of providing advanced healthcare with affordability and is the basis of our investment thesis. We are excited about these therapies and pleased to partner with Cellogen Therapeutics,’‘ Rajeev Nannapaneni, Director and CEO, Natco Pharma, said in a release.

“Cellogen has been working on its next-generation CAR T programme for around 2.5 years and has been able to zero in on one particular Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) construct amongst around 40 such constructs. After successful pre-clinical data using the selected CAR, Cellogen intends to start a phase-1 clinical trial in the first half of 2024. Just like the CAR T cell therapy, Cellogen Therapeutics also intends to bring gene therapy solutions at affordable cost to our patients in need,” Gaurav Kharya, Founder and Director, Cellogen Therapeutics said. 

R&D programmes

Cellogen is primarily involved in two R&D programmes involving cell and gene therapy solutions. CAR T cell therapy programme is at an advanced stage for Cellogen Therapeutics where the T cells of the patients are genetically engineered to identify and kill the cancer cells.

Cellogen Therapeutics has developed bi-specific CARs and also added another costimulatory domain to increase the efficacy and persistence of the CAR in human body as compared with currently available CAR constructs that are mono-specific with one co-stimulatory domain. 

Both these innovations are aimed at reducing the risk of relapse post-CAR T cell therapy which remains a major challenge with existing CAR constructs. Current available products in the market cost around $500,000-700,000, which Cellogen aims to bring down to $60,000-70,000. 

Another programme on which Cellogen Therapeutics is working is gene therapy programme for transfusion-dependent thalassemia and sickle cell disease. It is noteworthy that these two diseases form the largest burden of red cell disorders across the globe. As per rough estimates, 40,000 kids are born each year with these disorders in India (10,000 with thalassemia and 30,000 with sickle cell disease).