Deal-Making

Base editing firm Beam licenses Oxford Biomedica’s vector tech

Beam Therapeutics has licensed use of Oxford Biomedica’s Lentivector platform for the development of CAR-T therapies. Under the deal Beam can use the platform – a lentiviral based gene delivery system – for its cancer cell therapy programs. Oxford will also supply Beam with vectors for use in clinical trials for three years. Beam paid Oxford an undisclosed fee and has agreed to make further payments for vector supply. The UK firm will also receive royalties from the sale of…

Forge Bio’s combo model for gene therapies attracts $40m in funding

Forge Biologics has something rare for most early-stage biotech startups: revenue from customers. Now it has $40 million to expand its model, which places contract manufacturing alongside the development of its own gene therapies, the most advanced of which is being readied for tests in humans. From operations in Columbus, Ohio, Forge makes gene therapies for other companies. The company was initially conceived solely as a contract manufacturer, CEO Tim Miller told Xconomy. The explosion of gene therapy research is…

GSK gains 10% stake in mRNA vaccine developer Curevac in manufacturing deal

GSK and Curevac have signed an mRNA vaccine and monoclonal antibody drug manufacturing and commercialization agreement. The agreement will combine Curevac’s mRNA technology and manufacturing capabilities with GSK’s vaccines knowhow, self-amplifying mRNA (SAM) vaccine technology platform as well as its monoclonal antibody development and production capacity. The collaboration will focus on five mRNA-based vaccines and mAbs targeting infectious diseases. GSK has agreed to pay €120 million upfront and make an equity investment of €150 million in Curevac. The programs do…

Catalent expands contract with Humanigen for COVID-19 MAb

Catalent will provide end-to-end services to support lenzilumab in a Phase III study in COVID-19 patients. In May, Catalent announced it was clinically supporting Humanigen’s anti-human granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) monoclonal antibody lenzilumab for a Phase III clinical trials for COVID-19. This week, the contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) says it has expanded its work with Humanigen to include full end-to-end services for the candidate. “Humanigen and Catalent have been working together since 2007, but shifted focus earlier…

Amgen invests further $421m in China’s Beigene

Amgen has upped its investment in drugmaker Beigene to further access the increasingly large pharmaceutical market, China. Last year, Thousand Oaks, California-based Amgen closed a strategic collaboration with BeiGene, investing $2.8 billion to gain a presence in what’s becoming an ever-more essential market for global drug development. The investment earned it an R&D pact and ownership of about one-fifth of the Chinese oncology drug company. Now the firm has snapped up a chunk of additional shares in a move to maintain its…

Samsung Biologics eyes fourth plant as capacity fills

The 364,000 L of bioreactor capacity at Samsung Biologics’ site in Korea will be fully utilized by 2022, says the CDMO as it contemplates a new facility. Contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Samsung Biologics has grown its site in Songdo, Incheon since its inception in 2011 with three plants hosting a total of 364,000 L of mostly stainless-steel bioreactor capacity. Plant number one has 30,000 L of capacity from six 5,000 L tanks. Plant number two offers 150,000 L…

Novavax says COVID $1.6bn funding helps secure US-based supply chain

The ‘Operation Warp Speed’ $1.6 billion funding boost will help support the large-scale manufacture of COVID-19 vaccine candidate NVX‑CoV2373, says Novavax. Novavax has become the beneficiary of the largest funding by Operation Warp Speed – the US government’s response to the expedite vaccines and therapeutics against the novel coronavirus – to date, receiving $1.6 billion it says will be used to aid clinical development and secure manufacturing for NVX‑CoV2373. “In addition to establishing scale-up manufacturing capacity to deliver 100 million…

Rentschler and Vetter team to take on rising drug cost and complexity

CDMOs Rentschler Biopharma and Vetter say demand for lower cost, more streamlined manufacturing services prompted partnership. The Germany-based contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs) announced the formation of a strategic alliance on Monday. The idea is to offer customers Rentschler’s drug substance manufacturing capacity in combination with Vetter’s aseptic fill and finish and secondary packaging services. Rentschler spokeswoman Cora Kaiser cited market dynamics as the driver for the collaboration, explaining “Drug development is growing increasingly complex and cost intensive. Biopharmaceutical…

Instant caRNA? Tesla touts RNA bioreactor it is developing with Curevac

Curevac and car maker Tesla claim their development RNA production tech is less labour intensive and more deployable than alternatives. The technology – described as a Bioreactor for RNA in vitro Transcription – allows the DNA templates from which the RNA is produced to be used multiple times. It is also automated, which Curevac and Tesla say will minimize handling steps and make manufacturing processes more robust. The firms contrast their technology with current systems, which involve “many separate manufacturing…

CSL Behring strengthens gene therapy ambition in $450m deal

UniQure will continue manufacturing hemophilia gene therapy candidate AMT-061 after selling the licensing rights to CSL Behring. CSL Behring has paid uniQure $450 million for the global rights to commercialize the adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene therapy candidate AMT-061 (etranacogene dezaparvovec), in late stage studies for the treatment of hemophilia B. UniQure could be entitled to up to $1.6 billion depending on the progress of the candidate. The addition to CSL Behring supports the firm’s advanced therapy ambitions, according to company…