A story of resilience: Vienna-based Cel-Sci continues to move forward
Most successful companies have endured struggles to reach the success they have today. Vienna based Cel-Sci Corporation is no different. A small business working to do big things, one element that has helped Cel-Sci persist despite the odds is the organization’s drive to develop treatments for cancer and other diseases with the utilization of the immune system.
Cel-Sci is currently investing its services in the research for Multikine. This therapy is being thoroughly researched as a treatment for cancer. Multikine is an agent that works to boost the immune system allowing the body to be at its strongest when fighting cancer cells naturally. Now on its third phase trial, Cel-Sci is working towards FDA approval for commercial distribution of Multikine.
The Rise of Cel-Sci
Cel-Sci is a biotech company that has persisted and survived many odds thrown at them over the years. Their story began in the 1970’s when the founder, Maximilian de Clara, shared his belief that the immune system was vital in eradicating disease. However, his lack of technology at that time resulted in the inability to translate the idea into products, but that was not the end. In 1978, he started researching Multikine at the Max Plank Institute in Germany and later founded Cel-Sci in 1983 with the central idea of Multikine.
When Cel-Sci was beginning, they encountered funding issues that made it difficult for them to sustain. It was not until 1993 when the technology needed to manufacture Multikine was developed and the team began to see light at the end of the tunnel, though far in the distance. Since then the days have been filled as a passion and dedication to the development of commercial-grade Multikine through a growing team of scientists and administrative staff.
Cel-Sci successfully completed Phase 1 and Phase 2 human trials with Multikine between 1994 and 2000, but were again hit by challenges as the world saw the collapse of the biotech industry in 2002. The recession in 2008 affected Cel-Sci’s capacity to directly continue Phase 3 of clinical trials for Multikine. They were unable to fully construct their facilities due to budget constraint but their executive them was able to find a solution. They funneled their personal money to the company which resulted in its financial relief in the middle of 2009. Slowly, they were able to get back on track for Phase 3 of the clinical trial for Multikine.
Today, they are now focused on the Phase 3 results of their study as they aim to get the necessary certifications from the FDA. They still have the same drive as they began with some 35 years out and if history serves as a prediction of the future, Cel-Sci will continue to persevere despite odds to make cancer treatment better for patients.
The People Behind Cel-Sci
Cel-Sci owes much of it’s organizational growth and development to the scientific research and management team who continue to champion the company’s values and missions. Today, Cel-Sci is spearheaded by its CEO, Geert Kersten. Kersten has been with the company since 1987 and is one of the reasons why Cel-Sci has continued to overcome hurdles in years past. Together with Kersten, the company’s executive team led by Eyal Talor, Ph.D. as the Chief Scientific Officer; Patricia B. Prichep as Senior Vice President of Operations; Daniel Zimmerman, Ph.D. as Senior Vice President of Cellular Immunology; John Cipriano as Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs; William “Brooke” Jones as Vice President of Quality Assurance and Todd Burkhart as Vice President of Manufacturing. Kersten also acts as a director for the board of Cel-Sci. Additional board members include Peter R. Young, Ph.D., Bruno Baillavoine, and Robert Watson.
Due to the complex and intricate nature of the biotech industry, producing clinical products takes years of research and studies. As of the moment, Cel-Sci has two products in development. These products are the following:
Also known as Leukocyte Interleukin, Injection, this is the root of the conception of the company. This is a developing immunotherapy product with potential benefits for HPV, HIV, Cervical Dysplasia, and head and neck cancer. Cel-Sci exclusively trademarks Multikine.
As of the moment, Cel-Sci has registered this product for FDA Approval. This means that Multikine is not yet available for sale and distribution. It is still in the development stage. It currently seeks the licenses for mass production from the various licensing agencies.
L.E.A.P.S is an acronym that means Ligand Epitope Antigen Presentation System. This investigational technology platform of Cel-Sci allows them to conduct their research. CEL-400 and LEAPS-H1N1-DC is the experimental therapy that L.E.A.P.S is focused on. CEL-400 has potential benefits for rheumatoid arthritis. It is a vaccine product that is currently being further developed.
On the other hand, LEAPS-H1n1-Dc is a treatment for hospitalized patients with pandemic influenza. Just like CEL-400, LEAPS-H1N1-DC is still under development.
L.E.A.P.S technology is similar to Multikine as it is not yet available for the commercial market. It is still currently seeking FDA approval, as well. Further research and studies are needed to verify it’s efficiency for human consumption.
Cel-Sci takes pride in not cutting corners and doing everything by the books despite the odds that they are faced. They will continue to do so until the time where they will be able to provide the product to the people who need it. However, in the case of Multikine, as it approaches the end of its 3rd phase, the day where patients will be able to use its benefit may be coming shortly.