SK Holdings set to jump into cell and gene CDMO space with Yposkesi buy

Korean investment firm SK Holdings is looking to buy Yposkesi to add a cell and gene therapy business to its growing CDMO portfolio.

While the deal is not done and financials have not been revealed, SK Holdings is looking to become the majority shareholder in the majority shareholder of Yposkesi, a France-based contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) specializing in advanced therapies.

If it goes through, Yposkesi will fall under SK’s CDMO holding company, California-headquartered SK Pharmteco, formed last year to oversee the growing portfolio of pharma manufacturing facilities and businesses.

Image: iStock/Zhanna Hapanovich

Having first played in the pharma intermediate space, SK Holdings entered the small molecule active pharmaceutical ingredient sector in 2005, expanding the business in 2017 by constructing a facility in Sejong, Korea and buying an Irish facility from Bristol-Myers Squibb. And in 2018, the firm bought fine chemicals firm AMPAC

But with Yposkesi, the firm will enter the ever-growing cell and gene therapy CDMO space.

According to SK Holdings, “the gene and cell therapy business that SK Holdings would be entering through the acquisition of YposKesi is a revolutionary sector of the pharmaceutical industry, in which global pharmaceutical companies are actively investing. It accounts for over 50% of a total of 1,800 biologics pipeline under clinical development in advanced nations.”

Citing a report from Deloitte, “the gene and cell therapy market is expected to grow on an average annual rate of 25% until 2025 and is expected to surpass antibody therapies.”

Established in 2016 as a spin-off from Genethon, Yposkesi has a manufacturing platform for viral vectors supporting gene therapy applications. The firm has a 5,000m2 manufacturing facility in Corbeil-Essonnes with four independent production suites and two fill & finish suites but is currently expanding its capabilities through a new facility set to double capacity.

The CDMO names Genethon and Sarepta among its customers, and is working to make adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors for a Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) gene therapy, GNT0004, they are developing.

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