Aragen and Avid team to offer combined development and manufacturing services

The collaboration offers customers an end-to-end service incorporating cell line development from Aragen Bioscience with process development and manufacturing from Avid Bioservices.

Contract research organization (CRO) Aragen has teamed with contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Avid to provide biopharma customers a package from early cell line development through to cGMP manufacturing.

“Many of our prospect customers are requesting expedited timelines to GLP-Tox pilot batch and cGMP drug substance deliveries for their early stage programs,” an Avid spokesperson told Bioprocess Insider.

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“Those early-stage prospects are also requesting cell line development bundled with process development, pilot manufacturing and cGMP manufacturing. Likewise, Aragen tells us that their customers have similar requests for later phase process development and manufacturing services.  For those reasons, we believe it makes sense to team up with Aragen to co-promote an integrated offering.”

The arrangement allows Avid to remain focused on its core services, we were told; specifically, the clinical and commercial manufacturing of biologic drug substances.

“To this end, in 2019 we invested in the build-out and completion of our new state-of-the-art process development laboratory for upstream and downstream development, as well as pilot scale manufacturing. Later this year, we look to initiate the expansion of our Myford cGMP manufacturing facility, which will more than double our current capacity.

“That said, in order to further meet the immediate demand of our customers for cell line development, we opted to look externally and align with an industry leader in this area.”

Aragen comprises of two sites in San Francisco offering efficacy studies, protein analytics, and cell line development services. The firm was acquired by Indian CRO GVK Bio in 2014 and has benefited from several expansions, doubling its biologics laboratory space to support demand for cell line development services.

Speaking to this publication last year, Ramesh Subramanian, chief commercial officer of GVK Bio, said Aragen is looking to “move into manufacturing” to capture the “big-ticket item” of GMP production.

However, Sarat Patanaik, a GVK spokesperson, told us this deal in Avid is not a precursor to anything more formal.

“Avid and Aragen Bio are both highly respected companies in the service sector, with capabilities that complement each other. Through this partnership, our respective customers can immediately tap into an integrated solution to rapidly advance their ideas into therapies.

“This partnership does not preclude or limit either firm from enhancing or expanding its internal capabilities in the future.”