LBPs for gene therapies: Thermo Fisher inks deal with another Bamforth biz

Thermo Fisher has invested in Mark Barmforth’s latest venture Arranta Bio and will access live biopharmaceutical products (LBPs) for use in gene therapy production.

Thermo Fisher has a profound relationship with biopharma pioneer and Ampersand Capital Operating Partner Mark Bamforth. Bamforth’s contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Gallus BioPharmaceuticals was acquired by the Patheon in 2014, and in 2017 Patheon was picked up by Thermo Fisher for $7.2 billion (€6.5 billion).

Then earlier this year, Thermo Fisher expanded its CDMO credentials with the $1.7 billion acquisition of another Bamforth business Brammer Bio, bringing the firm gene therapy manufacturing capabilities.

Arranta was founded by veteran bio entrepreneur Mark Bamforth

Now Thermo Fisher has invested in Arranta Bio, founded earlier this year by Bamforth as a CDMO focused on the microbiome space. The exact level of investment has not been disclosed but Thermo Fisher’s contribution is part of an $82 million funding round led by Ampersand Capital Partners.

Thermo Fisher has also inked a strategic deal with Arranta in which it gains access to LBPs for use in the production of gene therapies while providing its services and equipment to Arranta.

“LBPs are used by microbiome product innovators. Arranta will also be manufacturing plasmid DNA using the same manufacturing fermentation platform in separate suite,” Bamforth told Bioprocess Insider.

“By partnering with Thermo Fisher, Arranta will have access to their full suite of products and services and Thermo Fisher will have access to Arranta’s plasmid materials for use in gene therapy production.”

He added Thermo Fisher will provide products including analytical instruments, bioprocessing equipment and materials that can be used in Arranta’s manufacturing platform at a facility in Watertown, Massachusetts, set to come online in 2020.

The 70,000 square-foot plant is the result of an $80 million investment and will have a range of fermenters up to 2,000L scale to manufacture LBPs for multiple clients, Bamforth said.

When pushed as to whether Thermo Fisher may look to acquire Arranta in the future, Bamforth said: “Arranta is an independent company. We welcome the investment from Thermo Fisher in partnership to support the delivery of life-changing healthcare for client.”

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