Drug Development

Big names, big companies back a cell therapy startup run by a high-profile regenerative med expert

Robert Hariri

One of the best known names in regenerative medicine is launching a new biotech with assets and cash coming from a range of marquee companies that includes Celgene.

The founder of the Warren, NJ-based upstart is Robert Hariri, a co-founder at Craig Venter’s Human Longevity. Hariri ran Anthrogenesis when Celgene bought it out 15 years ago, then headed Celgene Cellular Therapeutics for a period. Along the way he developed projects using stem cells derived from human placentas and inked collaborations between some of the key players, including Celgene.

Now, Hariri says he has gathered together preclinical assets related to immuno-oncology as well as regenerative tech for chronic and degenerative diseases. He raised an unspecified amount of money from a group that includes Sorrento Therapeutics, United Therapeutics and Human Longevity.

San Diego-based Sorrento passed along some IP on cell therapies and I/O, while United CEO Martine Rothblatt and Venter both have expressed an avid interest in anti-aging technologies.

Sorrento CEO Henry Ji

While stem cell R&D has gone through its boom and bust period, a number of prominent players are taking what they’re learned and headed back to the clinic, looking to succeed where others have failed. Adding I/O to the mix will also help enhance its image.

Hariri clearly wants to start out with some big names on the board, which includes former FDA commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach.

Sorrento CEO Henry Ji noted:

The potential for regenerative therapies in treating a wide array of chronic degenerative conditions is well known. We see important synergies for the oncology field and the potential to enhance our fight against malignant cancers. Celularity’s technologies, assets, and resources will help advance selected Sorrento cellular therapy programs and potentially transform autologous cellular therapies into affordable and accessible allogeneic cell therapies.



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