- Rubius Therapeutics announced Wednesday it will buy a 135,000-square foot manufacturing facility in Rhode Island to help scale its development and manufacturing capabilities for its cellular therapies.
- The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotechnology company said it plans to invest up to $95 million through 2020 and $155 million over a five-plus year period, hiring an additional 150 people to run the facility.
- The facility sale is expected to close in the third quarter of 2018, the company said in a statement. The property will be renovated over the next two years and divided into multiple manufacturing sites.
It's been a bustling summer for Rubius, one of the many small biotechs in Cambridge. Earlier this week, the company closed their initial public offering at $23 per share, grossing $277 million. They began trading on the Nasdaq market July 18 — less than two months after they named a new CEO.
And now they're growing out of Cambridge with a sizable manufacturing facility in Smithfield, Rhode Island. Staffing the site will substantially expand headcount at the biotech, which listed 83 employees as of last month.
While Rubius has generated significant buzz and a sizable IPO, it's still unproven and new. All 12 compounds in its pipeline are in the preclinical phase of testing, targeting cancer, rare diseases and autoimmune diseases.
Only one of its drugs has a timetable for filing an Investigational New Drug application with the Food and Drug Administration. That drug targets a rare birth defect called phenylketonuria, also known as PKU, and Rubius plans to file in the first quarter of 2019.
CEO Pablo Cagnoni described the new Rhode Island facility as a "critical step" in the lengthy process of bringing its cell therapies to market. The plant will help grow the company's expected cell culture capacity by more than twentyfold by 2020, from 900 liters per month to 18,800 liters per month.
"We believe that by owning our manufacturing capabilities and controlling our supply chain we will be prepared to scale up manufacturing of clinical and potentially commercial supply of our novel therapies," Cagnoni said in a statement.
According to Securities and Exchange Commission filings, Rubius has taken net losses every year since its inception in 2013 — not atypical for a biotech at as early a stage as Rubius. The business posted net losses of $11 million in 2016 and $43.8 million in 2017. It expects net losses to increase as research and development continues, and the company is on pace to lose $61.2 million in 2018 given their figures for the first three months.