Evotec expands cell therapy manufacturing with acquisition

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

Pic:getty/yujisakai
Pic:getty/yujisakai

Related tags: Evotec, Cell therapies, italy, Cell therapy, Gene therapy, cell and gene therapy

Evotec agrees to acquire Rigenerand, which adds a manufacturing facility capable of producing cell therapies to its infrastructure in Italy.

The acquisition values Rigenerand at €23m ($24.7m) and, in return, Evotec will receive a manufacturing facility, as well as various other assets. One of the additional assets is a gene therapy, known as RR001, which the company had been exploring for the treatment of solid tumors.

Further items on Rigenerand’s books include Isocult, which is a bioreactor platform that has been developed to support 3D tissue-like cultures. Part of this portfolio includes Vitvo, a 3D bioreactor product for 3D cell culture that is ready to use and handheld.

However, in the announcement of the deal, Evotec focused on the benefits of bringing a current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) manufacturing plant for cell therapy into the company, as well as adding the Rigenerand team that runs the facility.

Rigenerand’s location in Medolla, Italy, covers 1,200-square-meters, which includes the 450-square-meter manufacturing facility, as well as offices, R&D and quality control laboratories.

The manufacturing facility contains clean rooms (three BSL2 Class B rooms, two BSL3 Class B rooms, one Class C warehouse, dedicated access corridors and a Class D transfer material zone), a quality control laboratory, a GMP-controlled warehouse and a cryogenic room for cell banking. According to Rigenerand, the facility is able to produce both somatic and gene modified cell therapies.

Evotec noted in its announcement that the site has the potential for ‘significant further expansion’.

In terms of the facility’s utilization within its manufacturing network, Evotec was clear that it would become part of the company’s EVOcells platform. The platform is an end-to-end process that takes cell therapies from the discovery phase through to GMP manufacture, with the company currently ‘seeking partners’ to help develop projects in the area.

Evotec stated that this is its strategic angle by acquiring Rigenerand, with it outlining that it does not expect revenue contribution for the deal to be ‘significant at the beginning’ but believes the manufacturing capabilities will “strengthen [the company]’s ability to successfully win new integrated partnerships.”

Since Evotec made the move into the development of biologics a few years ago​, the company has focused on building out its manufacturing capacity.

Last year​, this saw Evotec invest €150m into the construction of a biologics manufacturing facility in Toulouse, France. A few months following this decision​, the company was able to announce the opening of Washington, US, facility, which would also be capable of manufacturing biologics at clinical and commercial-scale.

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