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Century Therapeutics, which was created by Versant Ventures, has raised $250 million in financing commitments from Bayer, Versant and Fujifilm Cellular Dynamics Inc. The proceeds will enable Century to move multiple programs into clinical development for hematologic and solid malignancies.

Century’s foundational technology is built on induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) that have unlimited self-renewing capacity. This enables multiple rounds of cellular engineering to produce master cell banks of modified cells that can be expanded and differentiated into immune effector cells to supply vast amounts of allogeneic, homogeneous therapeutic products.

Century said the investment marks Leaps by Bayer, the venture investment arm of the global life sciences company Bayer, as an integral partner in Century’s investor syndicate. 

“We are very excited about the potential of Century’s platform," Dr. Juergen Eckhardt, head of Leaps by Bayer, said in a statement. "It represents a unique opportunity in the development of next-generation cell therapies that promise to address previously incurable cancers.”

Century was founded by Versant in 2018. Later that year it formed a strategic partnership with Fujifilm Cellular Dynamics Inc., a subsidiary of Fujifilm Corp., to develop iPSC-derived immune effector cells for cancer. Century has exclusive access to FCDI’s leading immune effector cell differentiation protocols and intellectual property to manufacture GMP-grade immune effector cells at commercial scale. Under the terms of the iPSC platform license agreement, FCDI will serve as the primary manufacturer of Century’s cellular products.