Appoints Tim Largen as VP of Manufacturing to drive cell therapy production strategy and direct collaborations with leading CDMOs
September 14, 2021 – Seattle, Boston and Tokyo – Aurion Biotech, whose mission is to cure blindness by developing a differentiated platform of advanced therapies to treat ocular diseases, today announced it has appointed Tim Largen as vice president of manufacturing. Mr. Largen is based in Seattle and will lead strategy and development of Aurion Biotech’s global cell manufacturing capabilities. His role will include managing Aurion Biotech’s internal team and as a division of CorneaGen, Inc., working with external teams at Cognate BioServices, Inc., a Charles River Company, and at S-RACMO, a joint venture of Sumitomo Chemical Company, Ltd., and Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Company, Ltd., to help support cell production in the United States and Japan, respectively.
“The manufacture of our cells is core to Aurion Biotech’s strategy, and is integral to our success,” said Greg Kunst, chief executive officer of Aurion Biotech. “Since cell therapy is an emerging field, cell production experience is rare. By selecting S-RACMO and Cognate, and by bringing on Tim Largen to lead these teams, I am confident that we have assembled best-in-class resources to further differentiate our cell manufacturing capabilities.”
Aurion Biotech’s first candidate is a cell therapy for the treatment of corneal endothelial dysfunction, invented by world-renowned ophthalmic surgeon and research scientist Professor Shigeru Kinoshita and his distinguished colleagues at Kyoto Prefecture University of Medicine (KPUM) in Japan. Aurion Biotech’s parent company acquired this technology in 2020; Aurion Biotech is preparing to submit an NDA for market approval in Japan, and an IND for clinical trials in the U.S.
Tim Largen brings to Aurion Biotech over 20 years of experience helping companies move from clinical development into commercial production in gene and cell therapies. He joins Aurion Biotech from Lykan Bioscience, a start-up contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) where he led manufacturing sciences and technologies supporting a diverse client base. Prior to Lykan, Largen spent nearly a decade in roles of increasing responsibility at Dendreon, where he was responsible for establishing and running a high-volume cell therapy production facility. Before Dendreon, Largen held operations and supply chain roles at several life sciences companies, including Argos Therapeutics, Molecular Insight Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (now Progenics), Trace Life Sciences, and NeoRx Corporation. Largen holds an M.B.A. in Operations Management Sciences and a B.S. in Biology from the University of North Texas.
“I’m excited to dedicate my efforts to such a transformational treatment for patients suffering from corneal blindness,” said Tim Largen. “The culture and team at Aurion Biotech are top notch, and I look forward to working with colleagues and collaborators to improve patients’ lives.”
Best-in-Class Cell Therapy Manufacturing
“We were drawn to Cognate for many reasons, including Cognate’s nearly two decades of cell therapy experience and established track record,” said Kunst. “We look forward to working together to produce quality systems to meet GMP compliance as we plan and prepare for clinical trials.”
“Aurion Biotech’s patient-first approach aligns with our own values of providing the highest quality, life-changing products to patients that need them the most,” said Will Isom, general manager at Charles River Laboratories. “Their cell therapy solution for corneal endothelial disease is transformational, and we are excited to support them in their development efforts and to scale to meet their manufacturing needs through the full product lifecycle.”
Last year, Sumitomo Corporation announced the inception of a joint venture company, S-RACMO Co., Ltd. (S-RACMO), and the construction of a state-of-the-art facility to develop manufacturing methods and manufacture products for regenerative medicine and cell therapy. A collaboration between S-RACMO and Aurion Biotech was publicized in Japan in October of 2020.
About Aurion Biotech
Based in Seattle, Boston and Tokyo, Aurion Biotech is a clinical-stage biotech company. Our mission is to cure leading forms of blindness and transform the lives of millions of patients, by developing a platform of advanced therapies to treat ocular diseases. Our first candidate is for the treatment of corneal edema, and one of the first clinically validated cell therapies for corneal care. Healthy cells from a donor cornea are cultured in a novel, multi-step, proprietary and patented process. Cells from a single donor can be used to treat more than 100 recipient eyes. In clinical trials in Japan, patients have experienced significant and durable improvements in key measures of corneal health: visual acuity, corneal endothelial cell density and corneal thickness. The Aurion Biotech team is preparing for clinical trials in the U.S. To learn more about Aurion Biotech, a division of CorneaGen Inc., visit www.aurionbiotech.com