CBM: SK investment to fund next growth phase for ambitious CDMO

The Center for Breakthrough Medicines (CBM) has taken an undisclosed amount from Korean investment firm SK Inc in its latest push to become the world’s largest cell and gene CDMO.

In early 2020, life science and real estate investment company MLP Ventures and the Discovery Labs set-up CBM through a 680,000 square-foot facility at a former GSK R&D campus in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

At the time, Brian O’Neill, founder of the Discovery Labs, said through $1.2 billion of funding the new entity would strive to become “the world’s largest cell and gene contract development and manufacturing organization [CDMO],” and would be integral in solving the lack of production capacity  plaguing the advanced therapy space.

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With this latest round of funding – undisclosed, but set to close in December – SK Inc., a publicly-traded (holding company based in Seoul, South Korea, will come on board and help further drive this ambition.

“We currently have over 100,000 square feet of capacity online,” Audrey Greenberg, co-founder of CBM, told BioProcess Insider. “This raise is to supercharge our platform for a next phase of growth.”

She added a partnership through investment was always part of CBM’s plan from day one “to fund our next phase of growth.”

The net proceeds of this financing will support CBM’s operations, research, lab and GMP suite build out, as well as help drive strategic joint ventures, sponsored research agreements, technology platforms, automation and infrastructure.

SK Inc, a subsidiary of Korean conglomerate SK Group, invests in numerous industries including energy, chemicals, semiconductors, and logistics. Biopharma is the viewed as the latest growth portfolio and the company has made investments in the space including the acquisition of AMPAC Fine Chemicals and the purchase of Bristol Myers Squibb’s Swords, Ireland facilities for its associate SK Biotec. The investment in CBM adds third-party advanced therapy manufacturing to SK’s arsenal.

“CBM has assembled a world class team of leaders which was a core element in our desire to invest in the company,” said Dong Hoon Lee, EVP of SK Inc.

“CBM is an ideal investment because of its geographic location in Philadelphia – the birthplace of the cell & gene therapy industry, established cell and gene therapy manufacturing capabilities and the Company’s opportunity to address significant capacity constraints in the cell and gene therapy manufacturing space.”

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