VectorBuilder raises $57m in China for gene therapy delivery

Chicago-based VectorBuilder, a gene therapy delivery CDMO, raised $57 million in a Series C round from China investors.

VectorBuilder develops and optimizes gene delivery products for research institutions and pharma companies. Earlier this year, the contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) announced plans to build a $500 million gene delivery manufacturing and research campus in Guangzhou, China.

The C round was co-led by Legend Capital, Suikai Investment (55% owned by state-owned firm Guangzhou Development District Investment Group) and Yuexiu Industrial Fund, a PE investor.

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VectorBuilder will use the proceeds for the company’s gene delivery platform, vector production capacity and global expansion plans. Founded in 2014 by molecular biologist Bruce Lane, VectorBuilder enables researchers to design and order custom vectors online

When finished, the Guangzhou site will include 30 production suites designed to manufacture lentiviruses, plasmids, messenger RNA (mRNA), adeno-associated viruses (AAV), cell lines and other types of viral and non-viral vectors. VectorBuilder says its products allow biopharmas to focus on their candidates instead of developing their own vectors. The new Guangzhou campus, which will take four years to complete, is part of the company’s global expansion.

In addition to the company’s range of vector systems for both viral and non-viral gene delivery, the company also offers a wide range of CRO services for gene delivery applications in basic research and drug discovery.

With offices in China, Japan, South Korea, Germany, the UK, Australia and Israel, the company has so far worked with over 4,000 research organizations and biopharmas around the world.

VectorBuilder says it has partnered with thousands of labs and biotech/pharma companies around the world, offering design, development and optimization of gene delivery products for uses that range from basic research to clinical trials. The company’s proprietary Vector Design Studio allows researchers to design and order custom vectors online, or clients can order from its catalog of available products.

The Guangzhou site will also house a research institute to develop gene delivery technologies that advance efficiency, safety, cost and payload to meet the demand for vector-based vaccines and virus-based cancer therapeutics.

This article was first published in ChinaBioToday on October 25.