Cobra Biologics invests 165 million in manufacturing gene therapy products

Cobra Biologics, an international contract development and manufacturing organization for biologics and traditional medicines, today announces plans to expand operations at its UK and Swedish facilities to meet the growing demand in gene and immunotherapy for faster processes and therefore faster approval and launch of new drug products.

Cobra is investing up to GBP 15 million (SEK 165 million) over the next two years in a multi-phase expansion plan to support the company’s R&D capabilities in developing rapid and cost-effective production platforms for viral vectors and plasmid DNA. In the first phase, based in the UK, the company is expanding its Phase III and commercial capabilities for viral vectors to enable more customers to conduct clinical studies and reach the market faster. The second phase, in Sweden, will double the capacity for production and characterization of high quality plasmid DNA, which is fundamental for further manufacturing of lentivirus and adeno-associated virus (AAV) for early phase clinical trials. This innovative gene therapy utilizes T-cells with chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) for the treatment of e.g. Alzheimer’s disease. acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

The third phase of investment consists of increasing the clinical and commercial capacity for DNA manufactured under Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). The investments are expected to create a total of up to 50 new jobs, in addition to the 135 jobs already created in the UK and Sweden since 2011, and will also benefit Cobra’s subcontractors supplying services and resources in the UK and Sweden.

A comment from Peter Coleman, CEO of Cobra Biologics:“Cobra has been manufacturing DNA and viral vectors for gene therapy customers for almost 20 years, and we want to continue to be at the forefront of this exciting field. Cobra’s investments serve both current and future needs, and come at a time when gene therapy is at a very interesting stage with many new and potentially disruptive drugs in development. Many of these new products are considered orphan drugs, and as a contract development and manufacturing organization, we need to provide a fast and smooth production route to market.”

Greg Hands, UK Minister for International Trade and Investment, welcomed the news: “This new investment by Cobra Biologics strengthens the UK’s position in life sciences and creates skilled jobs in Keele as the company expands its operations. This comes at a time of increasing global demand for gene therapy products, helping to put the UK at the forefront of developing revolutionary disease therapies and new treatments that can be exported worldwide.”

Mikael Damberg, Sweden’s Minister for Enterprise and Innovation, also commented: “Sweden is very competitive in life science and it is gratifying to be able to welcome further investments now announced by Cobra Biologics. Strengthening the life science sector by giving it opportunities to grow, employ and export products and services will pave the way for highly skilled jobs in Sweden. It will also contribute to solving societal challenges in health and ageing. Of particular interest is that this investment is made in gene therapy, which is an important area for the successful treatment of future patients.”

The text is taken from the Cobra press release.