- British biopharma contractor Cobra Biologics said this week it will inject up to £15 million (roughly $19 million) into a phased expansion of its U.K. and Swedish manufacturing facilities, creating up to 50 new jobs.
- The investment is in response to growing demand from gene and immunotherapy companies seeking speedy production of DNA and viral vectors for clinical testing and market supply.
- Cobra's planned first phase will expand its viral vector manufacturing capabilities in the U.K. for Phase 3 studies and commercial use. The second stage, in Sweden, will double capacity for high quality DNA plasmid production used for adeno-associated viruses and lentiviruses. Finally, Cobra will ramp up clinical and commercial DNA production.
Not so very long ago, gene and immunotherapies were nothing more than a twinkle in a researchers eye. Now they are filling late-stage pipelines and moving rapidly into commercial use.
Cell therapies like CAR-T are on the verge of reaching markets while companies like Spark Therapeutics and BlueBird Bio are working to bring gene treatments to diseases ranging from inherited retinal diseases to beta-thalassemia.
In order to keep up with that rapid growth, contractors like Cobra have begun to build out their production capabilities to manufacture the vectors and components of these potentially game-changing treatments.
Cobra CEO Peter Coleman also noted the need to manufacture quickly for gene and immunotherapy companies.
"Many of these new products have orphan drug status and as a CDMO, we need to respond with a quick and seamless production route to market," Coleman said.