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Microbe Therapy Maker Expands, Adds Venture Funds

C. difficile in petri dish

C. difficile bacteria in petri dish (CDC.gov)

8 Mar. 2021. A company providing manufacturing services for microbiome drug developers is expanding its facilities, with an infusion of new venture funds. Arranta Bio in Watertown, Massachusetts is adding 130,000 square feet of lab and manufacturing space in nearby Boxborough, Mass., financed in part by the company’s second venture funding round.

Arranta Bio, founded in 2019, provides lab space and manufacturing services for companies developing therapies targeting the human microbiome. The microbiome, the collection of bacteria and other microorganisms found naturally in the body, particularly in the gut, is an emerging area of research and opportunity for therapies, including for diseases not usually associated with bacteria or the gut. Arranta Bio cites data showing the human microbiome contains trillions of microbial cells, with 1,200 different microbial species alone in human intestines.

The company says some 400 enterprises are studying or developing therapies linking gut microbes to a range of diseases including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. In addition, says Arranta Bio, an estimated 70 percent of the human immune system is based on gut microbes, with increasing connections found in infectious diseases and neurological disorders.

Dedicated microbiome manufacturing units

Arranta Bio offers labs for developers including cell banking services, and manufacturing facilities that meet current Good Management Practice or cGMP standards for drug substances, products, and packaging. The company’s labs support research on aerobic, anaerobic, and spore-forming bacteria, as well as single strain and consortia or grouped-species organisms. Arranta Bio’s facilities are rated at biosafety levels 1 and 2, for infectious agents or toxins that pose little or moderate risk from accidental exposure or inhalation.

The company says its Boxborough plant will add dedicated manufacturing capabilities for microbiome developers. The facility is expected to offer customers single-use bioreactors for anaerobic bacteria and fermenters for aerobic bacteria, and automated drug product manufacturing equipment, as well as for packaging and labeling. When completed the plant will employ some 250 workers. The plant will be built in two stages, with the first stage underway to provide customer manufacturing suites, and expected completion in 2022.

“In discussions with leading microbiome innovators,” says David Stevens, president of Arranta Bio in a company statement, “we see strong interest in dedicated client capacity and new manufacturing capabilities to meet the commercial supply needs of this sector. We are continuing to expand our organization, adding experience and skills to meet clients’ needs, and expect to have over 200 on our team by the end of 2021 and up to 500 employees once fully staffed.”

Arranta Bio is investing some $150 million in the Boxborough plant. The company says its recently closed second venture funding round with current investors supports the new facility, although dollar amounts of the round were not disclosed. Arranta Bio’s first venture round took place in October 2019, raising $82 million, led by life science investor Ampersand Capital Partners in Wellesley, Mass.

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