CRISPR follows plant announcement with share offer

CRISPR Therapeutics will build a manufacturing facility in Framingham, Massachusetts to make cell therapies for trials and commercialization.

The facility will accelerate its clinical development efforts according to CRISPR, which said it plans to hire up to approximately 100 full-time employees.

CRISPR said the plant is being designed to provide GMP manufacturing in compliance with US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Medicines Agency (EMA) regulations and guidelines.

Image: iStock/LewisTsePuiLung

CEO Samarth Kulkarni stressed that the facility will not replace the contract manufacturing organisations with which CRISPR works.

He said, “In addition to building out this internal manufacturing capacity, we will continue to work closely with our key manufacturing partners globally.”

Pandemic disruption

News of the facility comes a few months after CRISPR said some of its contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs) had been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In its Q1 filing in April the firm wrote, “Certain aspects of our supply chain have been disrupted as certain of our third-party suppliers and manufacturers have paused their operations in response to the coronavirus pandemic or have otherwise encountered delays in providing their services.

CRISPR did not name the contractors involved.

It added, “We continue to evaluate the extent to which these pauses and delays will impact our ability to manufacture our product candidates for our clinical trials and conduct other research and development operations and maintain applicable timelines.”

Share offering

News of the plant plan was followed days later by CRISPR’s $325 million underwritten public offering of common stock.

In its prospectus CRISPR said it expects to receive net proceeds of approximately $304.3 million from this offering, after deducting underwriting discounts and estimated offering expenses or “$350.0 million if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase up to an additional $48,750,000 of common shares.”

CRISPR said the proceeds would be used to further development of its candidates and its manufacturing infrastructure.

“We intend to use the net proceeds from this offering to fund research and clinical development of current or additional pipeline candidates, platform extensions, manufacturing infrastructure, working capital and general corporate purposes.”

CRISPR did not respond to a request for comment.