Bio-Techne: $50m reagent plant will support cell & gene therapies

Plans for a $50 million GMP reagent facility in Minnesota are materializing at Bio-Techne as it looks to support the burgeoning cell & gene therapy sector.

In its third quarter FY2019 financial call, life sciences services and consumables firm Bio-Techne spoke of intentions to build a $40 million (€36 million) GMP facility in Minneapolis, Minnesota to produce reagent proteins for use in cell and gene therapy applications.

Three months on, the firm has said plans are now laid to invest $10 million more – $50 million – over the course of the next 12 to 18 months to feed demand from its customers as their cell and gene therapies get FDA approved and move to commercial production.

The new facility will be in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Image: AdobeStock/f11photo

“This cost will include viral testing of our existing products to be manufactured in the new facility. It will also include upfront sales and marketing campaigns to make our customers more aware of our new strategic cell and gene therapy workflow offering, ultimately seeding our products in more clinical and preclinical trials,” Bio-Techne CFO Jim Hippel told stakeholders on a Q4 FY2019 financial call.

“This is a big investment, but with huge potential returns. We call this our internal acquisition. We see the possibility of our cell and gene therapy offering generating more than $200 million of annual revenue five years from now.”

CEO Chuck Kummeth added the company is “on the way to having a healthy cell and gene therapy business” through the addition of capacity and “hot market demand.”

He added: “This business will take a few years to grow to material level for the company, but we see explosive growth in this space and our larger biopharma customers have been asking us to invest further in this direction.”

B-MoGen acquisition

He also spoke about the firm’s recent acquisition of B-MoGen Biotechnologies, adding gene editing and delivery tools to Bio-Techne’s arsenal.

“This technology holds the promise of being able to deliver personalized therapeutic agents that have greater target effect and less off-target side effects,” he said on the call.

“B-MoGen’s key non-viral vector technology obviate several concerns associated with the use of viral vectors, including simplification of the entire vector manufacturing process, reduced biosafety concerns related to cytotoxicity, mutagenesis or malignant transformation of target cells and greater flexibility in payload size.”

For the quarter, Bio-Techne saw sales of $192 million, up 7% year-on-year. The Protein Sciences segment contributed $143 million, up from $134 million in Q4 FY2018.