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Company Helps Labs Build Gene, Cell Therapy Businesses

DNAmolcule model

(Skeeze, Pixabay)

14 May 2019. A new company formed offering full-scale facilities to develop cell and gene therapy products spun-off from academic research labs. ElevateBio in Cambridge, Massachusetts began operations yesterday, also raising $150 million in its first round of venture financing.

ElevateBio aims to provide scientists working in cell or gene therapies at academic, hospital, and institute labs with the business infrastructure to take research findings from the lab to marketable products or services. The company expects to provide researchers seeking to begin new enterprises with the product development, commercialization, and manufacturing expertise and facilities they need for this task.

A central feature of ElevateBio is its Basecamp, a central product development lab and manufacturing facility for gene and cell therapies to be shared among ElevateBio’s portfolio companies. “A foundational element of our scientific, clinical and financial strategy is ElevateBio Basecamp,” says CEO and founder David Hallal in a company statement, “which is our single R&D, process development and manufacturing company that supports our portfolio companies and a select group of strategic partners that will benefit from our expertise and facilities.”

ElevateBio Basecamp is being built in Waltham, Massachusetts, and expected to provide more than 100,000 square feet of lab and manufacturing space. The facility aims to provide automated protein engineering, virology, and immunology labs, as well as analytics and quality-control resources. In addition, says ElevateBio, Basecamp will provide manufacturing facilities that meet the industry’s Current Good Manufacturing Practice standards.

The company will use its Cambridge offices for Basecamp until the Waltham facility is completed, under the direction of chief scientist Mitchell Finer. “In the field of cell and gene therapies, as well as regenerative medicine products,” notes Finer, “the lack of high-quality process development and manufacturing capability is among the most significant barriers to moving these therapies forward.” Finer adds that, “Together, we are reducing inefficiencies that drain capital and delay new therapies, so that we can rapidly and successfully move novel candidates from concept to commercialization.”

ElevateBio is raising $150 million in its first venture funding round, led by the UBS Oncology Impact Fund and life science investment company F2 Ventures. The Swiss banking company UBS established the UBS Oncology Impact Fund in 2016 to invest in early-stage companies developing cancer treatments, and is managed by MPM Capital. ElevateBio also incubated at MPM Capital’s Cambridge offices. Joining the funding round are EcoR1 Capital, Redmile Group, and Samsara BioCapital.

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