Repligen fighting fit in $10bn bioprocess sector, eyes CGT for growth

Repligen says planned tech launches and growing cell and gene therapy sector demand will drive market expansion and growth in 2020.

The bioprocess and life science tech supplier shared its thoughts at the JP Morgan Healthcare conference.

CEO Tony Hunt said a “surge” in clinical activity is driving expansion in the CDMO space – citing announcements by Catalent and Thermo Fisher Scientific – and at large pharma firms like Amgen, Novartis and BeiGene.

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“If you go back a few years ago, we were talking about 45-50 monoclonal antibodies approved, now it’s over 100. There’s 550 mAbs that are still in clinical development so that is a very healthy market for all bioprocessors.

“Then in the world of gene and cell therapy, there are over 1,000 clinical trials of which 750 are in gene therapy and 90% of those are in Phase I and Phase II… so it’s a very healthy situation for the whole bioprocessing tool space.”

This has created a “robust” $10 billion bioprocessing sector that is growing 8-10% according to Hunt, who told investors Repligen has an addressable target market of $2.8 billion.

Technologies

Repligen’s strategy is to grow through M&A and the development of technologies that expand share.

“These high impact technologies not only allow us to play in the mAb space, but it allows us to enter new markets. We talk a lot about gene therapy, but we’ve also been able to get into the vaccine market through the acquisition of spectrum,” Hunt said.

Hunt cited the FlowVPE tech developed by recent acquisition C Technologies as an example.

“We have technology that is the clear market leader in protein concentration measurement, so we are very excited about what we are going to be able to do with that technology as we move through the next couple of years.”

He also predicted a new gamma irradiated version of TangenX’s flat sheet cassettes would win users in the gene therapy space.

Hunt said Repligen will launch products in 2020, citing ligands developed with Navigo and Purolite as examples.

Protein business

Repligen’s ligand business relies on Protein A, which biopharma uses to recover molecules from process streams.

“In the world of proteins, we’ve about a 10% share… we went through three years 16, 17 and 18 where this business was relatively flat. Last year was a really good year for proteins really. We saw an uptick in Ligand demand.

“But as we go into 2020, we all know that as GE bring some of their manufacturing inhouse we’ll have a down year in proteins.”

Repligen has supplied GE Healthcare with Protein A for decades. But in 2017 GE launched its own resin – MabSelect PrismA – and said it would move ligand production inhouse.

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