Univercells expands its offering to meet ‘fast-growing’ gene therapy demand

By Vassia Barba

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/oatawa)
(Image: Getty/oatawa)

Related tags Univercells Viral vector bioreactor biomanufacturing

Funding from Gamma supports the development of Univercells’ biomanufacturing platform and bioreactors, with the latter looking to expand into the fast-growing gene therapy segment.

Univercells, a provider of bioprocessing solutions, announced plans to expand its NevoLine biomanufacturing platform as well as its offering in bioreactors, known as scale-X, after receiving €50m ($54m) funding from Gamma Biosciences, an investment platform supported by global investment firm KKR.

To execute the expansion, Univercells will transfer the funding to a subsidiary, which will take over the industrialization and commercialization of its manufacturing technologies. A spokesperson for the company told us that more on the new subsidiary will be announced over the ‘next few weeks’.

Separating the business

When asked about what drove the needs for the launch of a subsidiary, the spokesperson explained that “Univercells has been the benefactor of many high-level investments and financial support, and [...] with these investments comes a great deal of responsibility.”

According to the spokesperson, by creating a subsidiary to focus on the manufacturing technologies, the company will ensure that KKR’s funding is applied effectively to the area that the firm was interested in investing in. “This also helps support the wider objectives of Univercells as the company continues to grow and evolve,” ​they added.

Upon completion of the funding transaction, which is expected by the end of H1 2020, Univercells’ remaining business will concentrate on developing a portfolio of vaccines​ and biosimilars, which will “be delivered at an affordable price”​, the company stated.

Among other products, Univercells is developing measles and rubella (M&R) vaccine biomanufacturing processes, focusing on reduced manufacturing costs, in order to distribute the products to low- to middle-income countries, under funding by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Plans for viral manufacturing solutions

Regarding the expansion of its bioprocessing services offering, the company announced that it will follow a ‘comprehensive approach’ that will streamline its operations and enable the development of additional services to support the ‘fast-growing’ gene therapy segment.

According to the company, these services will include a ‘range’ of solutions for viral manufacturing.

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