UK firm Cobra Bio-Manufacturing has announced its intention to undertake a placing and open offer to raise £4.65 million (€6.45m) to fund the purchase of an additional manufacturing plant in Cowley, Oxford. The 15,000 square foot facility, already equipped to manufacture biological products for pre-clinical and Phase I and II clinical trials, would double Cobra's existing capacity.
Commenting on the fundraising, Peter Fothergill, Cobra's executive chairman, said: "This fundraising will enable investment in our new facility in Oxford leading to a rapid expansion of our manufacturing capability and thereby enabling us to service our growing order book quicker and more effectively." Cobra's existing manufacturing plant in Keele, Staffordshire, will reach its capacity in the year to September 2004, he said.
The Cowley plant is equipped for cell banking, process development, fermentation, primary separation, purification, storage and dispensing and can be environmentally controlled to achieve containment and appropriate clean room standards.
Cobra was floated on the UK's Alternative Investment Market in April 2002 with the express aim of becoming a major manufacturer of DNA and protein therapeutics for third parties for clinical trials and, in time, to develop into a full-service custom manufacturer of licensed bio-pharmaceutical products for commercial sale.
The firm has also announced its interim results for the six months ended 31 March, in which turnover from continuing operations rose a massive 306 per cent to £3.0 million, with a pre-tax profit of £0.48 million. New contract wins which contributed to the sales increases included two deals with the South African AIDS Vaccine Initiative for candidate HIV vaccines and an agreement with Australian pharmaceutical company FH Faulding for a novel virus.