US CDMO developments: Genezen further expands lentiviral and retroviral vector production site, Wheeler Bio closes Series A round

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Hiroshi Watanabe
© GettyImages/Hiroshi Watanabe

Related tags: Genezen, cell and gene therapy, Wheeler Bio, Drug substances, vector

Genezen has completed another expansion phase at its viral vector process development and cGMP vector production facility in Fishers, Indiana.

The cell and gene therapy contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), which specializes in lentiviral and retroviral vector manufacturing, said the latest phase of the buildout sees additional process development, analytical development, and quality control labs as well as GMP cell banking and GMP vector manufacturing suites with an expanded GMP warehouse at the facility.

The move is in response to increased lentiviral and retroviral GMP vector demand, it added.

The continued investment in the Fishers facility allows Genezen to increase delivery of cGMP lentiviral and retroviral vectors from adherent and suspension processes supporting both transient transfection and producer cell line vector manufacturing platforms.

This capacity also expands the CDMO’s current cGMP capabilities for host cell expansion and host cell banking.

Funds to support new biologics drug substance GMP expansion in Oklahoma

Meanwhile Wheeler Bio, a CDMO specializing in small batch clinical production of biologics and GMP-grade reagents, announced the first closing of its Series A financing round.

The investment was co-led by Charles River Laboratories and Echo Investment Capital with participation from ATUM, Floating Point Advisors, Plains Venture Partners (a subsidiary of i2E), and Pine Ridge Ventures.

The proceeds of the funding will be used to expand Wheeler’s drug substance GMP manufacturing facility in the Ziggurat building in Oklahoma City.

The company and the strategic investors backing it believe that a different CDMO model is needed to help innovators reach their clinical milestones faster.

“Wheeler’s novel hub-and-spoke operational model, centered in the biomanufacturing metro of Oklahoma City (OKC), and integrated with discovery CROs, will revolutionize the speed of drug development. Wheeler Bio’s technology platform, Portable CMC, simplifies the path between drug discovery and clinical manufacturing by standardizing and democratizing the innovation-to-impact process.”

Key hire

Last month saw Wheeler appoint Dr Roger Lias as its president and chief operating officer. Lias was previously chief commercial officer at Vibalogics, a viral vector CDMO that was acquired this year by Recipharm.

He brings a wealth of experience in the biologics CDMO arena, said his new employer. He had senior commercial roles at Lonza and Diosynth before becoming a member of the founding management teams at KBI Biopharma, Cytovance Biologics, and Eden Biodesign. More recently, Lias was CEO at Avid Bioservices and Stelis Biopharma. “At both companies he was responsible for the successful transition to dedicated CDMO models.”

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