The University City-based company is developing therapeutics designed to improve persistence and efficacy against aggressive solid tumors — specifically, multi-chain KIR-CAR platform technology for CAR T-cells. It welcomed Chief Scientific Officer Laura Johnson last October, and Senior Director of Translational Science in Jun Xu in the spring, to bring their experiences in process development and drug product characterization to the venture. And in September, the company received clearance of its Investigational New Drug application from the US Food and Drug Administration to initiate a first-in-human Phase 1 clinical trial of its SynKIR-110 therapy. The trial assesses the product’s safety, tolerability and preliminary efficacy in patients with mesothelin-expressing ovarian cancer, cholangiocarcinoma and mesothelioma.
As the trial progresses, Verismo announced this week it had built out a research and development center in CIC Labs + Innovation Campus at 3675 Market St., where it already held office space. It comes at a time when CIC was already expanding its footprint amid the growing need for lab space in Philadelphia.
The expansion project, which was completed this year, meant doubling its lab footprint, CIC spokesperson Donna Katz told Technical.ly in an email. CIC added 50,000 square feet to two floors across the building that were previously used as office space, and now takes up six floors total, four of which are lab space.
CIC is currently 72% occupied for both labs and offices, Katz said, and 77% of the labs are occupied.
“The expansion allowed some of the larger clients to move into graduation labs and, for the first time in four years, they have lab availability,” she said. “They currently have five medium labs and three small labs available.”
Verismo’s R&D center at CIC will serve as a location for its in-house translational research and process development work to support the ongoing activities for the SynKIR-110 clinical trial. The company will also begin work on pipeline products including SynKIR-210 and SynKIR-310. A Verismo spokesperson said CIC provided the company with space that was already outfitted for its needs, and didn’t need to make any changes.
“The addition of Verismo’s in-house laboratories is a key component necessary to rapidly drive our KIR-CAR pipeline forward,” CSO Johnson said in a statement. “And the opportunity that CIC Philadelphia offers by allowing Verismo to utilize their extensive facilities and to expand as necessary will allow us to continue to quickly achieve milestones.”
Bryan Kim, CEO of Verismo, said in a statement that the internal capabilities of the new space will allow the company to enhance its Rapid Concept-to-Clinic Pipeline program. That’s allowed the company to go from founding to clinical setting in less than two years, he said.
“Verismo has assembled a highly skilled and experienced team of cell therapy experts,” he said. “This new R&D space will allow them to apply their expertise to drive our product platform forward.”
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