For this interview, Phacilitate’s Becky-Johnson Kent speaks with Cintia Piccina, CCO of Adaptimmune, about what to expect from her role as a panellist in the session ‘Cell Therapy Commercial Success, Overcoming Pitfalls and What We Have Learned from 2022′, at Advanced Therapies Week 2023.
To start with could you please introduce yourself and tell us what you will be speaking about at Advanced Therapies Week 2023?
My name is Cintia Piccina and I work at AdaptImmune Therapeutics as the Chief Commercial Officer. I am really excited to be joining Advanced Therapy Week in January to speak as part of the panel in the session ‘Cell Therapy Commercial Success, Overcoming Pitfalls and What We Have Learned from 2022.’ The panel will focus on the opportunities and challenges in the commercialization of cellular therapies.
What are the challenges associated with the commercialization of cell therapies?
We have seen a lot of progress in the commercialization of advanced therapies, most notably the launch of numerous approved CAR-T’s, but we also have a lot to learn from the challenges these products faced. This includes the scalability of the process, the ability to treat patients outside of a clinical trial setting, and working on patient access and reimbursement through globally implementing an effective treatment site network. These challenges present us with an opportunity to learn as we continue to evolve and bring new modalities to patient populations.
There are a lot of challenges that we need to get ready for in the future. For example, I’ve been working in the solid tumor space and have seen that the establishment of referral networks in that space is something that we’re going to need to figure out. Also, working with TCR cell therapies has the challenge of the need for the efficient testing of biomarkers. And of course, we are also going to need to learn from and create solutions to additional challenges that come up.
What do you think is needed in order for cell therapies to improve within the advanced therapies landscape?
Firstly, I would say that we need to see generalized simplification. We need to consider how to simplify processes internally to make sure that we have a greater ability to scale, and also externally, as we engage with the sites that are going to be working and using these therapies with patients. A lot of this can come from consistency, which could be created across companies working in this fields’ interactions with regulators and policymakers.
Secondly, we’re going to need to figure out ways to reduce the cost of goods involved in cell therapy production in order to make them more broadly available.
Finally, we need to consider clinical development. We need to find ways to create trial designs that are more feasible for cellular therapies to make sure that we can continue to improve and reach more patients over time.
What are you looking forward to and what are you expecting to come up during the discussion around cell therapies at ATW?
One of the things that I’m really excited to do during this meeting is to share a little bit of my experience from the chances I have had to work with some launched CAR-T’s.
I would also say that I am mostly looking forward to having a good conversation with the panelists, understanding their perspectives, and engaging with participants.
I believe that our panel will be more of an open conversation to share some of the challenges we have all faced, and also provide a chance to put our heads together, as a community, to try and find some of the solutions that we will need to continue advancing the field.
Where do you see the cell and gene therapy field in 5 to 10 years time?
We are still in cell therapy infancy and there is a lot that we need to learn to continue to grow. I definitely see cell therapies in 5 to 10 years from today being a lot more mainstream, with the ability to treat more patients. As we move into earlier lines of therapies, see better results, and improve the technology available, we can improve our ability to bring this medicine to patients faster, in terms of turn-around time.
As we continue to improve the percentage of patients that can benefit from these products, we also hope to see an increase in the duration of response and remission periods. Ultimately, the objective for everybody is to strive toward cure. I hope in 5 to 10 years time we are closer to that.