Toulouse, France, March 29, 2021 – Cell-Easy, a Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO) that provides quick and easy access to ready-to-inject allogeneic stem cells today announces two appointments: Jerome Bedier as chief operating officer and Guillaume Lay as global business development manager.
These latest recruitments strengthen Cell-Easy’s business model – following the December 2020 €7M ($8.3M) fundraising with Mérieux Equity Partners as lead investor. The funds enable implementation of Cell-Easy’s allogenic process for production of adipose tissue mesenchymal stem cells (ASC) at GMP industrial scale. They will also help development of its CDMO activity focused on cell therapy.
In response to anticipated rapid growth at Cell-Easy, the company almost doubled its employee numbers in Q1 of 2021. This expanded workforce will help strengthen Cell-Easy’s business activity. The new staff will work on providing clinicians with its economically affordable GMP grade ASC in clinical trials and on the scouting of new clients for contract manufacturing of all adherent cell therapies (CDMO).
New COO Jerome Bedier combines a strategic and operative view of future medicine (gene, cell and antibody therapies), with strong experience in managing efficiency at Novasep, the well-respected French CDMO. Jerome’s main priority in this new role is to set in place procedures to strengthen the organisation of the company’s operations. He will be in charge of managing the scale-up of the proprietary process of GMP production of Adipose Tissue Mesenchymal Stem Cells – for clinical trials – and of implementing the CDMO activity. He has over 18 years’ experience within CDMOs – through his career at Novasep, where he was successively business manager, operations director, marketing director, president of biopharma and finally vice-president of biopharma operations.
“It’s rare to have a such perfect fit for a start-up company. Previously, Jerome has strongly supported the evolution strategy of Novasep – from chemistry to biologics; we plan to move operations forwards at Cell-Easy under his leadership,” said Pierre Monsan, CEO at Cell-Easy.
“I was impressed by the entrepreneurial drive and vision of the management team, comprised of Guillaume Costecalde and Pierre Monsan, as they prepare for the future of cell therapy. I am honored to join the Cell-Easy team and its partners; to contribute to making cell therapy accessible to everyone. The growth prospects require further development of the production tools. The current experts in place are working on innovative and productive solutions to make this happen,” said Jerome Bedier.
Guillaume Lay, who joins as global business development manager, is highly experienced within European cell and gene therapy actors, with over 13 years’ experience at Miltenyi, where he held the position of regional sales manager. His impressive track record includes building Miltenyi into an active and successful trademark within the gene and cell therapy space. His experience in sales of specialized technical equipment enabled him to build an impressive network of contacts in academic labs and private companies. Guillaume’s main priority in the new role will be to broaden Cell-Easy’s network of collaborations at both the French and European scale; with clinicians to evaluate the efficiency of the company’s GMP grade ASC, in as many therapeutic applications as possible, and with companies looking to produce GMP grade adherent stem cells for their own clinical studies.
“Guillaume is dynamic and driven, he will accelerate the economic development of Cell-Easy. He brings to the team the values of a rugby player – a sport he regularly plays; which will help strengthen Cell-Easy’s communications inside and out,” said Pierre Monsan.
“I am very proud and motivated to be part of this biotech start-up and to secure a strategic position in the development of this growing and competitive business. This is a very interesting and exciting challenge. Cell-Easy is in the right place at the right time. It will offer the possibility of greater access to cell therapy products. It also creates the opportunity to develop many other innovative cell products within a pharmaceutical grade environment,” said Guillaume Lay.
Cell-Easy has transformed an autologous process originally developed by the French Blood Transfusion Agency (EFS) for large-scale production of ASC for therapeutic allogenic production at an affordable price. This unique, allogeneic and scalable production process helps thousands of patients using the biological material of a single healthy volunteer donor. By the end of Q4, 2021, Cell-Easy should deliver its first GMP grade ASC products for clinical studies at the Toulouse University Hospitals (France). The first two studies will look at Alzheimer’s disease (Prof. J. Delrieu) and Crohn disease’s anal fistula (Prof. L. Buscail).
Cell-Easy is also currently in advanced negotiations with non-European pharmaceutical companies to produce their adherent stem cells under contract. It plans to start this CDMO activity later in the year.
The Adipose Tissue Mesenchymal Stem Cells’ global market grew from $8.8 billion (€7.5bn) in 2016 to $12.3 billion (€10.4bn) in 2021.
Cell-Easy is a unique Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO) with a proprietary adipose-derived allogeneic stem cell production process providing quick and easy access to ready-to-inject cells for clinical drug development projects. This unique allogeneic and scalable production process helps thousands of patients using the biological material of a single healthy volunteer donor. Resulting stem cell products can be used in both regenerative medicine and in a wider range of human health projects.
In addition, Cell-Easy’s original CDMO activity is focused on adherent cell production; it provides expertise on technology transfer, clinical positioning and regulatory issues. Cell-Easy’s CDMO activities produce custom-developed, cryopreserved, adherent cells in vials, delivered direct to biotech and pharmaceutical companies. The cGMP platform has 330m2 of class B cleanrooms and provides enough production capacity to set up trials for over 10,000 patients per year. Cell-Easy was founded in 2017 and is based in Toulouse, France. It employs 19 staff. The company raised €7M ($8.3M) in December 2020, with Mérieux Equity Partners as lead investor.