Vibalogics plans $50m expansion as viral CDMO demand sits at ‘all-time high’

Investment in oncolytic viruses, viral vaccines, and viral vector gene therapies have driven CDMO Vibalogics to expand its capabilities in Germany.

Contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Vibalogics will pump $50 million into its Cuxhaven, Germany facility to expand early-to-late phase clinical virotherapy manufacturing capacity.

According to the firm, it has seen a growing customer base comprised of Big Pharma, start-ups, and mid-sized biotechs requiring viral vectors for a range of pipeline modalities.

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“The work we are doing in support of a variety of viral product types include oncolytic viruses, viral vaccines, and viral vector gene therapies,” Joe Sinclair, VP of Business Development and Corporate Strategy told us.

“The demand is directly tied to the investments we have seen by the public and private investment community over the past several years in industry, as well as the technological, and importantly the clinical and commercial success that has more recently come to fruition with viral products.”

When asked if the coronavirus pandemic helped drive demand further, we were told that while the adenoviral-based vaccines – such as the J&J vaccine that Vibalogics supported in the early-stages of development – provide opportunities for viral vector producers, it is not the main factor behind Vibalogics’ expansion strategy.

“Demand recently has been increasing in oncolytic viruses, a very exciting class of products for us and we are seeing varying approaches there in adenovirus, vaccinia virus, herpes simplex virus, vesicular stomatitis virus, and more, approaches also include direct viral dosing, as well as viruses transduced into a cell and delivered as whole-cell vaccine applications.”

All time-high

The news comes just seven months after the CDMO invested $150 million to bring operations to the US.

“Our investments are aligned to market demand, including future growth projections as well. With much of the oncolytic virus and viral vector gene therapy market still in an emerging state, our 5 year projection shows a potentially tightening situation as clinical programs advance to commercial products and drive overall production volumes,” Sinclair said.

“Currently demand across viral CDMOs is at an all-time high, and not uncommon for companies looking for GMP production capacity that is not available for 12,18, 24 months or more. We are looking to remain capacity rich, and build out our ability to accommodate the market need through added contribution of capacity. Further investments are to come, likely through co-investment to service and additional facility expansions with strategic partners.”

As such, further investments by Vibalogics are likely, both in facilities and technologies.

“This includes considerations across suspension and adherent based expansion platforms, creating robust downstream processes, as well as developing platform analytical methods with next-generation technologies.

“We continue to invest into our scale, including bioreactor capacity at 2000L + volumes, and even evaluating some of the newer 4000L + systems. Our business looks to be both a good neighbor to the local community in Boxborough, MA, as well as Cuxhaven, Germany, and a strong service provider to our clients delivering quality products on time and to the exacting specification of our partners.”

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