CGT manufacturing tech innovator expands global footprint and team

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Yuuji
© GettyImages/Yuuji

Related tags cell and gene therapy Ori Biotech

Ori Biotech, a company aiming to bring automated manufacturing to the CGT industry, has been executing its strategic plan following the US$100m it raised in its Series B funding round earlier this year.

It has invested in high-level expertise, personnel, and facilities globally, with the goal of rapid transition into the launch of its innovative cell and gene therapy (CGT) manufacturing platform.

The developer has boosted its senior leadership team with several new appointments, including three directors, to support further growth and push the commercialization of its platform, along with further expanding its Science Advisory Board (SAB), appointing CGT experts, Isabelle Rivière and Jason Bock.

It has also opened a new facility in Princeton, New Jersey, US and will be opening a new technology center, in Cambridge, UK.

New hires

The company outlined how it has made new hires within teams across digital infrastructure, data analytics, software, manufacturing, and quality.

Kale Feeder and Lindsey Clarke have joined Ori as directors of business development. Feeter was formerly at Cytiva and Thermo Fisher while Clarke joins from Bio-Techne, having previously been at Miltenyi Biotec. In addition, Quentin Vicard has been appointed as director of product management – he was previously with Sartorius. Brian Macauley has been recruited as cloud platform lead and Claire Horlock has come on board as principal scientist, joining from Autolus.

In terms of the additions to the SAB, Ori said Isabelle Rivière brings 25 years of CGT experience, including from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), where she is currently director of the cell therapy and cell engineering laboratory. She is also a co-founder of Juno Therapeutics, a board member of the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT) and past board member of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM). Jason Bock, CEO of the newly formed cell therapy manufacturing center (CTMC), a joint venture between MD Anderson and National Resilience, also adds 20 years biotech experience developing and bringing therapeutics to the market.

Commenting on those new recruits and SAB members, Jason C Foster, CEO of Ori Biotech, told BioPharma-Reporter: “As recent data demonstrates, there is an urgent need for increased access to cell and gene therapies, with less than 2% of eligible patients globally gaining access to marketed cell therapies and 20% of those patients who are selected for treatment still die while waiting for their treatment to be manufactured. It is imperative that we address these access issues quickly and there is no time to waste.

"Our new team members add to our strengths across all domains including biology, engineering, data science, manufacturing, supply chain and commercial. Typically, it has taken 10+ years for manufacturing platforms like Ori’s to get to market, we hope to bring the first generation of our platform to market in early 2024, less than five years post our first round of funding in 2019.”

LEAP program

The CEO said the company’s Lightspeed Early Access Program (LEAP) is an important step toward commercial launch. “It is a very exciting time as we have several partners directly engaging with our beta platform and testing it with their protocols. We have announced two partners in the past, Achilles Therapeutics and Minaris Regenerative Medicine, and will be announcing additional partners in the very near future. 

"Our tech ops team is working on-site at partner facilities in the UK and the US, supporting ongoing work to incorporate feedback and enhancements to the final commercial version of the platform. LEAP members are also soon going to be testing Ori’s fully integrated tech stack including partner applications which will be a key aspect to creating programs that can scale to fully meet commercial demand, which is currently impossible.”

New facilities

The company’s US facility in Princeton, NJ is operational and already in use. “The lab team is using the space for LEAP partner work as well as partner technology integrations," ​said Foster.

David Smith, VP, technical operations, is leading the team based at Princeton Innovation Center Biolabs.

The new technology center in Cambridge, UK will be used for engineering, R&D including in the fields of mechanics, electronics, software, data science, multiphysics and robotics. Led by Stuart Milne, CTO, that site will be focused on enabling a specialized team of engineers and scientists to develop Ori’s next generation prototypes, mechanical, electrical and software activity and digital platforms. 

The company said the teams at both sites are working closely with the scientific team embedded at the Ori facility at the London Biosciences Innovation Center.

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