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The companies have been awarded a collaborative grant of £1.9 million (US$2.6 million) from Innovate UK.
Cobra Biologics, an international contract development and manufacturing organization of biologics and pharmaceuticals, and Symbiosis Pharmaceutical Services, a contract manufacturing organization specializing in sterile fill/finish services, announced on Feb. 1, 2018 that they have been awarded a £1.9m- (approximately US$3 million-) collaborative grant from Innovate UK, the United Kingdom’s innovation agency.
The joint investment project, costing £4.8 million (approximately US$7 million) in total, aims to develop capabilities for clinical and commercial production of gene and immunotherapy viral vectors for both drug substance and drug product manufacturing.
According to Symbiosis, the 16-month grant will position the partner companies as centers of excellence and establish commercial viral vector manufacturing capabilities within the UK.
“Cell and gene therapy products are showing tremendous potential in the treatment of patients,” said Peter Coleman, chief executive at Cobra Biologics, in a press statement. “The successful development and production of viral vectors to deliver these therapies is critical to the success of these products.”
The project will also support a larger investment in the production capabilities of both companies, streamlining and de-risking the manufacturing of viral vector products through operational and commercial alignment. The resulting supply chain offering will support the clinical and commercial objectives of drug developers, leading to more innovative gene and immunotherapy medicines reaching patients, according to Symbiosis.
“We are delighted to be working with Cobra on this project with the aim of developing a UK-based supply chain to both facilitate and accelerate the successful clinical and commercial manufacture of viral vectors,” added Colin MacKay, chief executive of Symbiosis, in the release.
“Our well-established track record in viral vector fill/finish for clinical trials positions Symbiosis alongside our partner Cobra in building drug development for shared clients and the UK’s burgeoning capabilities in the field of advanced therapy manufacturing.”
The grant is awarded under Innovate UK’s Health and Life Sciences Program and is aligned with the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy to invest in and support the development of advanced therapies in the UK.
“The UK is at the forefront of research into these new therapies, but there is a global shortage in viral vector manufacturing capacity and we need to act to take advantage of the commercial opportunities,” stated Dr. Ian Campbell, director of Health and Life Sciences, Innovate UK. “Innovate UK funding for this vital project can help boost this sector and meet the needs of patients in the future.”