With the promise of potential lifesaving treatments like chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-Cell therapy comes complex challenges. For instance: how can we be sure the right cells are going to the right patient? How can we communicate problems with manufacturing that would affect a patient’s treatment schedule?
To address those concerns, Mayo Clinic startup company Vineti developed first-of-its-kind software package tracking for cell therapies. The software meticulously monitors quality control during every step of the cell’s journey from extraction to infusion. Vineti’s groundbreaking product captured a World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer Award in the field of health. Given to early stage companies, this award recognizes new technologies and innovations poised for significant impact on business and society.
“Creating new products is an additional way that Mayo Clinic can improve patient care. It’s a way to amplify our staff’s talent in terms of meeting the needs of a large number of patients. A single drug, one diagnostic test or one piece of software could positively affect tens of millions of patients,” says Andrew Danielsen, chair of Mayo Clinic Ventures. “Having one of Mayo Clinic’s startups win this award is a validation of our staff’s work to bring a very innovative product to market.”
Vineti’s software reflects a new era of complex care delivered at Mayo Clinic. Before CAR T-cell therapy, cell processing was typically done within the treating institution. For CAR T, cells are shipped to an outside pharmaceutical company where they are genetically modified with potential power to kill cancer.
“This adds a new layer of complexity to cell processing that we have not had in the past,” says Yi Lin, M.D., Ph.D., a hematologist who is the Chair of the Cell Therapy Cross-Disciplinary Group at Mayo Clinic Cancer Center who collaborated on the Vineti software. “Mayo Clinic is a Center of Excellence in delivering CAR-T therapy. Our team is acutely aware of the impact of innovative software on improving patient care. We are happy to share our expertise with Vineti to enable the optimization of their software that brings together different groups to ensure safe and timely delivery of cells to the right patient.”
Mayo Clinic Cancer Center and the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology Immune, Progenitor, and Cell Therapeutics Lab (IMPACT) collaborated on the software. Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine provided support. The research for this software was done within the IMPACT laboratory, Therapeutic Apheresis Treatment Unit (TATU) and the division of Hematology, as part of the effort to improve cell therapies for patients. Key innovators are Allan Dietz, Ph.D., Dr.Lin, and Jeffrey Winters, M.D.
“This award demonstrates the importance and transformative nature of cell-based therapies for our patients. It is also a great example of leadership role of innovation and application that the IMPACT lab and transfusion medicine is having at Mayo and around the world,” says Dr. Dietz.
“CAR T therapy is a rapidly growing treatment which is critical for the treatment of a variety of patients who have no other options. The Vineti software ensures that appropriate quality controls are in place for the therapies to ensure patient safety. The award recognizes their critical role in this area,” says Dr. Winters.
The software is also used to track cell processing for a range of other conditions, including rare genetic blood disorders. Cell therapy is being pursued in a wide range of serious disorders, including cardiac and inflammatory conditions.
Vineti began as a collaboration between Mayo Clinic and GE Ventures. Mayo Clinic has retained an ownership stake in the company. Any revenue generated is reinvested in Mayo Clinic research and education.