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Biotech Manufacturer Gains $525M in New Funds

BaseCamp lab

Lab space at BaseCamp (ElevateBio, Instagram)

15 Mar. 2021. A company providing specialized lab and manufacturing services for cell and gene therapy developers is raising $525 million in its third venture funding round. The new financing for ElevateBio, in Cambridge, Massachusetts raises its total venture funding to $845 million since its founding less than two years ago.

ElevateBio provides 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 the marketplace. The company aims its services at research-based start-ups with the product development, commercialization, and manufacturing expertise and facilities needed to move their discoveries to the marketplace.

A central feature of ElevateBio is BaseCamp, a product development lab and manufacturing facility in nearby Waltham, Mass. for gene and cell therapies to be shared among ElevateBio’s portfolio companies. BaseCamp, says the company, offers 140,00 square feet of lab and manufacturing space for automated protein engineering, virology, and immunology, as well as analytics and quality-control resources. And, says the company, BaseCamp offers manufacturing facilities that meet the industry’s current Good Manufacturing Practice standards.

So far, ElevateBio has two portfolio companies. Science & Enterprise reported on AlloVir joining the ElevateBio consortium in May 2019. AlloVir, in Houston, develops engineered cell therapies for viral diseases that restore natural T-cell immunity in people with compromised immune systems, such as stem cell and organ transplant patients. The company licenses discoveries from Baylor College of Medicine, also in Houston, for its off-the-shelf synthetic T-cells for patients with compromised immune systems.

“Breaking down silos … changing the mindset”

In Oct. 2019, ElevateBio founded HighPass Bio, a spin-off enterprise from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. HighPass Bio is developing targeted T-cell cancer immunotherapies, with its lead product targeting T-cell receptors to treat and prevent relapse of leukemia following a transplant of blood-forming stem cells. The company’s experimental therapy is now in an early-stage clinical trial.

“While we see remarkable breakthroughs in the earliest days of the cell and gene therapy revolution,” says David Hallal, Elevate Bio’s chairman and CEO in a company statement, “accelerating innovation requires next-generation technology, analytics, and production capabilities to deliver therapies better, faster, and cheaper.”

Mitchell Finer, the company’s chief scientist adds, “At ElevateBio, we can realize the full potential of cell and gene therapies, by re-envisioning the way these products are made, breaking down silos, leveraging powerful enabling technologies, and changing the mindset from simple manufacturing scale-up to conducting large scale biology.”

The company’s new venture funding round raising $525 million is led by Matrix Capital Management in Boston, with new investors SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Fidelity Management and Research Company taking part. Also participating are ElevateBio’s current investors: MPM Capital, F2 Ventures, Redmile Group, EcoR1 Capital, Samsara BioCapital, The Invus Group, Emerson Collective, Surveyor Capital, EDBI, and Vertex Ventures, iTochu, and an unnamed insurance company. According to Crunchbase, Elevate Bio raised $150 million and $170 million respectively in its first and second venture rounds.

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