Her previous roles include a stint as the head of development for oncology cell therapies at Takeda. She also led the North American Innovation Center and R&D Digital Accelerator at Sanofi and held a leadership role in Lilly’s oncology business unit.
Bit.bio’s differentiated approach
Corzo’s decision to join bit.bio was rooted in the company’s pioneering approach to cell therapy. “Joining bit.bio became a clear choice,” she recalls. “The platform technology at bit.bio offers a solution to some of the significant challenges in the cell therapy field, mainly by manufacturing consistent cells at scale, speed and reduced costs thus democratizing access to human cells.”
The company’s precision cell-programming technology, opti-ox, uses genomic safe harbor sites to accurately execute genetic code in mammalian cells. opti-ox enables the precise, efficient and scalable reprogramming of stem cells into any desired mature cell type. “We aspire for our cells to become the benchmark for disease models,” Corzo said.
Bit.bio employs a screening method to identify specific transcription factor combinations, then uses its opti-ox technology to precisely, consistently and efficiently produce human cell types with a desired maturity and function.
Strengthening opti-ox’s potential with strategic alliances
To expand the reach of opti-ox, bit.bio is forging strategic partnerships. “A recent example is our collaboration with BlueRock Therapeutics to work on T regs, a promising cell type for immunological applications,” Corzo said. In the alliance with BlueRock, bit.bio will use its machine learning-powered discovery platform to pinpoint transcription factor combinations for reprogramming induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) into Tregs. Under the terms of the deal, BlueRock has an option to license the opti-ox precision cell programming technology to control the expression of transcription factor combinations within Treg cell therapies.
The alliance with BlueRock represents a true partnership, Corzo said, which “capitalizes on the unique skills of both parties.” “Collaborations and partnerships are about leveraging strengths and innovation across new technologies and platforms to speed development of new therapies,” she continued. “What makes the biotech and drug development world so vibrant is its collaborative spirit.”
Genome engineering meets opti-ox: The Synthego collaboration
In addition, bit.bio has recently expanded a strategic alliance with genome engineering company Synthego. The collaboration unites Synthego’s background in genome editing with opti-ox technology to develop novel cell therapies. The aim is to use the multiplexed opti-ox engineering approach to optimize the number of engineering steps. The technique could potentially shorten clinical cell engineering and development timelines by up to 10 months.
Bit.bio’s international collaboration partners include Charles River Laboratories. It also has distribution partnerships with U.K.-based antibody specialist Abcam, Tokyo’s biotech hub Cosmo Bio and Brazil’s innovative biotech firm, Pensa Bio.
A culture of diversity
Within the walls of bit.bio, the culture is no less diverse. “When you visit bit.bio, you’ll notice the diversity immediately. I believe that diversity drives innovation,” Corzo said. Not just limited to ethnic or gender diversity, bit.bio places a strong emphasis on intellectual variety, she added. “We also embrace diversity of thought and expertise by bringing in perspective from experts in diverse fields such as engineers, gene editors, biologists and bioinformatic specialists.”
Corzo is determined to democratize access to human cells, stating, “I envision a future where our therapies reach millions, not just a few thousands.”
Filed Under: Cell & gene therapy, Oncology, Women in Pharma and Biotech