ElevateBio secures $150m to move cell and gene therapy companies forward amid ‘overwhelming’ CMO demand

By Melissa Fassbender

- Last updated on GMT

Elevate’s BaseCamp is being built in Waltham, MA, and will span 100,000 square feet when completed. (Image: ElevateBio)
Elevate’s BaseCamp is being built in Waltham, MA, and will span 100,000 square feet when completed. (Image: ElevateBio)

Related tags Contract manufacturing cell and gene therapy ElevateBio

ElevateBio’s BaseCamp facility will provide “bench-to-bedside” services to its portfolio and partner companies – as the demand for cell and gene therapy CMOs “far outweighs the capacity,” says CEO.

The Cambridge, MA-based biotechnology holding company aims to build a portfolio of cell and gene therapy companies via partnerships with academic researchers, medical centers, and entrepreneurs.

“We envision a stratified pool of portfolio companies with some early, some mid, and some later-stage companies with a variety of different cell and gene therapy products,”​ explained David Hallal, ElevateBio co-founder, CEO, and chairman.

“ElevateBio portfolio companies need to have a treatment or technology that we think can dramatically improve human health and where we believe our expertise and capabilities will help advance those in a meaningful way,”​ he told us. “We’re incredibly excited about the future of ElevateBio.”

Sharing in this enthusiasm is investors, as ElevateBio raises $150m as part of its Series A financing round, which was co-led by the UBS Oncology Impact Fund managed by MPM Capital and F2 Ventures, joined by EcoR1 Capital, Redmile Group, and Samsara BioCapital.

The funds will be used to develop Elevate’s BaseCamp, the company’s 100,000 square foot facility which will include cGMP manufacturing suites, analytics and QC laboratories, as well as protein engineering, virology, and immunology labs. The facility is being built in Waltham, MA and is expected to be occupied later this year, with validating and qualifying runs to begin in the first part of next year.

“By having one central facility we are building tomorrow’s companies today,”​ Hallal added, noting that typically, smaller companies must either build expensive facilities or outsource.

However, Hallal said the current demand for cell and gene therapy manufacturing capabilities at contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs) “far outweighs the capacity.”

With a single, central facility, he added that the model also will help eliminate delays from tech transfers, as one example; nevertheless, he said traditional outsourcing models will always have a place.

“Given the overwhelming demand for cell and gene therapy manufacturing, we believe our model will only serve to help drive innovative new therapies to patients faster,” ​Hallal added.

ElevateBio’s BaseCamp will only be available to ElevateBio portfolio companies and select strategic partners. Hallal said, “With BaseCamp if an innovation is made in the lab, we can put that right into production and the projects will be run by ElevateBio and portfolio company employees.”

The company has been working to build a pipeline of portfolio companies and expects to launch announcements in the coming weeks and months, including “some really exciting strategic partnerships,” ​fueled by what has been “extremely positive”​ feedback thus far, Hallal said.

“People have not seen anything like this before and are very excited about the model and the potential to advance new treatments.”

Among these announcements include the recently-announced addition of AlloVir (previously ViraCyte) to ElevateBio’s company portfolio. The company is built on technology developed by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine’s Center for Cell and Gene Therapy and recently secured $120m as part of a Series B financing round.

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