SK investment set to bolster CBM, bring capacity to a ‘starved CGT’ marketplace

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/travelpixpro
© GettyImages/travelpixpro

Related tags CDMO Yposkesi cell and gene therapy

Korean company, SK, is investing in the Philadelphia-based Center for Breakthrough Medicines (CBM), a move that will support the US company in its bid to become the world's largest end-to-end cell and gene therapy contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO).

The financing deal is expected to be finalized next month. Details regarding the size of the outlay have not been disclosed.

Established in 2019, CBM is focused on fully integrated pre-clinical through commercial manufacturing capabilities including process development, plasmid DNA, and viral vector manufacturing, cell banking, cell processing, and a full suite of testing and analytic capabilities.

It targets companies working on pre-clinical to commercial phase therapies.

SK Inc, a publicly-traded holding company with its headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, primarily invests in energy, chemicals, semiconductors, logistics, and services sectors.

But the investor has been bolstering its biopharma portfolio of late, including considerable investments in cell and gene therapy (CGT) companies creating enormous strategic value for CBM, noted Audrey Greenberg, cofounder of the CDMO.

SK Inc acquired a 70% stake in French CDMO, Yposkesi​, in March this year.  In 2017, it purchased Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS)'s manufacturing facility in Ireland and in the following year, it took over California-based AMPAC Fine Chemicals.

“The SK CBM partnership will bring capacity to a starved CGT marketplace and expedite the delivery of new therapies to patients who need them now,​” said Greenberg.

Infrastructural improvements

CBM said it will use the net proceeds of this financing to support operations, research, lab and GMP suite build out, strategic joint ventures, sponsored research agreements, technology platforms, automation and infrastructure.

Joerg Ahlgrimm, CEO of the organization, said it was looking to build an unprecedented amount of desperately needed capacity, with it also set to hire 2,000 new team members in the next four years.

In addition to CDMO services, the Philadelphia based firm outlined how it has been investing significantly in proprietary cell and gene manufacturing technology aimed at increasing the speed to market and lowering the cost of its customers’ therapies.

“This, combined with the scale of capacity and integrated single-site supply chain, and the deep expertise of the team, positions CBM as the ideal CDMO partner for companies looking for a strategic development and manufacturing partner.”

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