The company is planning a phased expansion of their DNA and viral vector production.
International biotech and pharma CDMO for biologics, Cobra:Bio, will expand operations at both its UK and Sweden facilities. This expansion is crucial in order to match the growing consumer demand for both gene and immunotherapy services, as companies in these sectors seek to bring their products to market faster and broaden their portfolios. The company officially made their announcement, which calls for a multi-phase approach to growth on April 18th, 2017.
Cobra Biologics plans to invest as much as £15m (165m SEK) on their expansion plan, which will include a phased timeline for each step of the projected growth. The plan will bolster the company’s R&D in both viral vector and DNA plasmid production.
In the initial phase, the UK facility will increase their viral vector Phase III and commercial manufacturing capacity.
The second phase is centered in Sweden and calls for an almost doubling of capacity of both DNA plasmid production and characterization. This is necessary for the support of CAR T-cell therapy companies, with a focus on acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. In order to achieve this, the increased capacity will directly keep up the essential early clinical phase materials of Adeno-associated virus (AAV) and lentivirus manufacture that are needed for these therapies to succeed.
The final phase of investment will be adding to the company spend on increased commercial and clinical capabilities for GMP DNA production.
The company’s announcement about their growing capacity and increased investment has earned praise from figureheads in both the UK and Sweden. Greg Hands, UK International Trade Minister, commented on the news. “This new investment by Cobra Biologics is another boost for UK life sciences, creating high-skilled jobs in Keele as the company expands its operations. It comes as global demand for gene therapy manufacturing is surging, helping put the UK at the forefront of developing revolutionary disease therapies and new treatments to be exported around the world.”
Mikael Damberg, Sweden's Minister for Enterprise and Innovation, echoed a similar sentiment of excitement. “Sweden is very competitive in life sciences,” he said. “It is therefore gratifying to be able to welcome the investments announced by Cobra Biologics. Strengthening the life sciences sector’s opportunities to grow, employ and export products and services will pave the way for more skilled jobs in Sweden. It will also contribute to solving societal challenges in health and ageing. Of special interest is the fact that this investment is made in gene therapy, which is an important area for successful treatment of future patients.”
The expansion will take place over the next two years.