Cobra’s Symbiosis relationship making UK cell and gene competitive

CDMOs Cobra Biologics and Symbiosis have completed a collaboration they say has increased and simplified viral vector production and increased the UK’s competitiveness in cell and gene therapy services.

After 18 months, the £4.8 million ($6 million) project has come to an end. The collaboration intended to build up viral vector capabilities while supporting the development of gene therapies in the UK, and the two contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs) say these aims have been achieved.

“One key aim of this Innovate UK-funded project was to build both an effective and an efficient interface between two distinct CDMOs – Symbiosis and Cobra – to facilitate an improved rate of advancement of manufacturing projects for joint clients,” Symbiosis CEO Colin MacKay told Bioprocess Insider.

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“In tandem with the physical enhancements to existing manufacturing capabilities, the newly aligned service offering becomes capable of handling more projects in less time which represents an increase in manufacturing capacity.”

“The alignment of the Symbiosis and Cobra regulatory and commercial processes as a direct result of this Innovate UK grant project is specifically intended to reduce the complexity of transitioning drug development projects between these kinds of specialist service providers.”

The reduction in time required to move projects between providers will, in turn, reduce the financial risk of projects, he continued.

UK cell and gene therapy space

The project included a £1.9 million grant from Innovate UK, and MacKay added that from its perspective “this kind of strategic capability acts to strengthen the position of UK companies to compete for international ATMP [advanced therapy medicinal product] drug development projects, which leverages the gold-standard MHRA [Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency] regulatory compliance which both companies are built on.”

He added such a project helps positions the UK life sciences sector to be increasingly competitive in winning international business in what is a rapidly accelerating, and increasingly validated, field of personalized medicines.

“The project has directly supported the growth of both Symbiosis and Cobra resulting in increased recruitment and development of skilled employees which in turn is supportive of the development of the local economy and a valuable specialist skills base in the UK.”

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