ElevateBio launches in effort to help gene, cell therapy startup companies overcome development barriers

ElevateBio on Monday announced the company's launch with $150 million raised via a series A financing as it looks to help startup firms developing gene and cell therapies. The company also unveiled the formation of ElevateBio BaseCamp to help drugmakers address the process development and manufacturing barriers that can hamper the progress of such therapies. 

"ElevateBio is uniquely structured and positioned to leverage our cell and gene therapy company-building capabilities to accelerate development, manufacturing and delivery of highly innovative therapies across a growing number of portfolio companies," remarked CEO David Hallal. The executive, who stepped down as chief executive of Alexion in 2016, noted that ElevateBio aims "to create and build a broad portfolio of cell and gene therapy companies through partnerships with leading academic researchers, medical centres and entrepreneurs."

Hallal indicated that "our initial portfolio companies and strategic partners" will be announced in the coming weeks, adding that the ElevateBio will support these startup firms until their progress, procure additional funding or go public. Along with Hallal, ElevateBio's executive team includes chief financial officer Vikas Sinha, who stepped down from his position at Alexion in 2016, and chief scientific officer Mitchell Finer, who left the same position at bluebird bio in 2015.

"In the field of cell and gene therapies…the lack of high-quality process development and manufacturing capability is among the most significant barriers to moving these therapies forward" commented Finer, adding that ElevateBio's model is designed to reduce "inefficiencies that drain capital and delay new therapies."

ElevateBio is currently constructing a more than 100 000-square-foot facility in Massachusetts to support ElevateBio BaseCamp's operations. The firm said the site, which will become fully operational in the second half of this year, will be featuring current good manufacturing practices manufacturing suites, analytics and quality control laboratories, as well as laboratories for protein engineering, virology and immunology. The company noted ElevateBio BaseCamp will provide these and other services across ElevateBio's portfolio companies and selected strategic partners.

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