New Cell and Gene Therapy CDMO Launches with $1.1-Bn Investment

By Emily Forster -

January 23, 2020

The Discovery Labs, a provider of cGMP manufacturing, turnkey laboratory solutions, materials and office space for building life-sciences and technology companies, and Deerfield Management Company, an investment firm, have launched The Center for Breakthrough Medicines, a new contract development and management company (CDMO) and specialty investment company with a planned investment of $1.1-billion for a cell and gene therapy manufacturing facility in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

The CDMO is occupying over 40% of The Discovery Labs’ 1.6-million-square-foot biotech, healthcare and life-sciences campus in King of Prussia. It will provide preclinical through commercial manufacturing of cell and gene therapies and component raw materials as well as process development, plasmid DNA, viral vectors, cell banking, cell processing, and support testing capabilities.

Renovations are underway to construct a total of 86 plasmid, viral vector production, universal cell processing, cGMP testing, process development and cell-banking suites. The company says that the viral vector and cell-processing suites will be fully compliant with both US Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency standards. The company is in the process of reserving capacity now for late 2020.

The company has also initiated a hiring effort and expects to hire over 2,000 team members within the next 30 months. The CDMO has retained Nucleus Careers, a cloud-based specialty life-sciences human capital recruiting and retention management expert, to build out the entire team. Nucleus has proprietary recruiting and retention software designed for large-scale human capital buildouts.

The Discovery Labs is also establishing The Colony, which will provide custom-built discovery labs, breakthrough funding, sponsored research agreements, housing, and relocation for scientists from both academia and pharmaceutical companies with expertise in cell and gene therapy.

The Discovery Labs provides a central campus where scientists can collaborate. The Center for Breakthrough Medicines will work with scientists, life-sciences companies, large pharmaceutical companies, and academic and government institutions. 

This new manufacturing capability complements The Discovery Labs biotech incubator, Unite IQ. Unite IQ offers space to emerging life-sciences companies and scientists for incubator and accelerator space to initiate business operations. Unite IQ tenants are expected to use the discovery, development, testing, and manufacturing capabilities of the Center for Breakthrough Medicines from research lab to large-scale production.

The Discovery Labs, which was formed by MLP Ventures, announced it was redeveloping the former GlaxoSmithKline’s one-million-square-foot Upper Merion West Campus and the 640,000-square foot Innovation at Renaissance Campus in King of Prussia into an ecosystem for healthcare, life- sciences and technology-enabled companies. The campus of the Discovery Labs site is where the new CDMO will be housed.

Source: The Discovery Labs