2022 begins with proliferation of advanced therapy CDMO investments

The Center for Breakthrough Medicines receives $350 million, Forge Biologics closes $80 million in additional funding, Piramal invests in Yapan, and GHO Capital invests in RoslinCT. Welcome to our CGT CDMO round-up.

Eagle-eyed readers will remember South Korean investment firm SK Inc pledged to invest in Pennsylvania-based company the Center for Breakthrough Medicines (CBM) back in November.

Now the cell and gene contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) has revealed SK’s involvement includes $350 million in equity financing aimed at enhancing CBM’s pre-clinical through to commercial cell and gene therapy manufacturing capabilities.

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“This unprecedented collaboration will allow us to bring over 700,000 square feet of capacity online, and hire 2,000 of the world’s most brilliant, advanced therapy experts, all at the Discovery Labs site in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania,” said CBM chairman Brian O’Neill.

CBM was founded in early 2020 through a $1.2 billion collaboration between life science and real estate investment company MLP Ventures and the Discovery Labs. The firm looks to offer process development, viral vector manufacturing, cell processing, plasmid DNA, cell banking, and a full suite of complimentary analytical development and testing capabilities from its 680,000 square-foot facility at a former GSK R&D campus in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

This latest investment will also help enable strategic joint ventures, sponsored research agreements, and development of proprietary technology platforms, the firm said.

Forge Biologics

Next up is gene therapy CDMO Forge Biologics announced this week that it is has entered into a secured financing agreement with MidCap Financial that provides up to $80 million of borrowing capacity.

The investment will be used to support the development of new client offerings, platform development, and accelerate buildout of an expansion at its site in Columbus, Ohio.

Again, regular subscribers will look back to May 2021 when Forge closed a $120 million Series B financing to expand its adeno-associated virus (AAV) manufacturing, but this latest financing will expedite and increase the project to over 200,000 square feet of capacity.

According to the firm, 20 cGMP suites will be available in 2022 utilizing 50, 500, 1,000, and 5,000 L bioreactors – the latter for large-scale client needs in clinical and commercial programs for use with Forge’s proprietary suspension HEK 293 Ignition cell line. The firm will also add fill and finish capabilities and says additional cGMP suites are planned in the future.

“We are excited to deliver on our goal of offering our clients expanded manufacturing capacity, while providing access to some of the largest suspension bioreactors available in the industry,” said Timothy Miller, CEO of Forge. “This increased scale, combined with our automated fill-finish capabilities, positions Forge as an ideal partner for clients moving beyond the clinic to commercial launch and supply, particularly those needing to manufacture cGMP AAV.”

Piramal and Yapan

Piramal Pharma Limited has augmented its own CDMO business by taking a minority stake in Hyderabad, India-based Yapan Bio.

The INR 101.77 crore ($14 million) investment will be used to help Yapan broaden its service offering, which includes process development, scale-up, and cGMP compliant manufacturing of vaccine, biologics, RNA/DNA vaccines, gene therapies, monoclonal antibodies, therapeutic proteins, and other complex biologics.

“This investment, coupled with the[…]capabilities of our Grangemouth, UK site in antibody drug conjugations and our sterile fill/finish capabilities in Lexington, USA, demonstrates our commitment to growing our service offerings in the large molecule CDMO space,” said Peter DeYoung, CEO of Pharma Solutions at Piramal.

RoslinCT

And finally, in this New Year’s round-up, Scottish cell therapy CDMO RoslinCT, a spinout from the Roslin Institute, is looking to significantly increase its development and manufacturing capacity and expand in overseas markets through an undisclosed investment from GHO Capital.

“GHO have a wealth of healthcare expertise which is key, as we look to drive global growth and expand our operations to meet rising international demand,” said Janet Downie, chief executive of RoslinCT.

“With huge advancements being made in the cell therapy industry, RoslinCT is now perfectly positioned to truly become a global CDMO, having gone from strength to strength in recent years. I see this as a very natural and exciting step for the business and we look forward to hitting further milestones with the backing of GHO.”

The news follows a recent expansion by RoslinCT that more than doubled capacity at the CDMO’s site near Edinburgh, UK.