Two life science orgs in the Greater Philadelphia region are partnering to advance cell and gene therapies more quickly.
King Of Prussia’s Center for Breakthrough Medicines (CBM), a cell and gene therapy contract developer and manufacturer at Discovery Labs, has entered a strategic partnership with BioAnalysis LLC, a Kensington-based nonclinical contract research organization.
Through the partnership, five-year-old BioAnalysis, based out of MaKen Studios, will bring its testing capabilities to the Center’s client companies. Those capabilities include characterization of viral vectors using the Kensington company’s proprietary sedimentation velocity approach to analytical ultracentrification, along with other biophysical methods and analytics, the partners said Wednesday. BioAnalysis founder and principal scientist Lake Paul will lend scientific expertise and data analysis, as his team becomes an “invaluable resource” for the Center’s clients.
The patients who are expected to benefit most from this partnership include those who suffer from rare diseases.
Dana Cipriano, the Center’s SVP of testing and analytical services, told Technical.ly a client suggested her org meet with Paul about a year and a half ago because of his expertise in the space. The Center had added testing capabilities to its suite of services, but BioAnalysis’ sedimentation velocity approach could bring a wide variety of advantages to the companies manufacturing with the Center, she said.
"We saw this partnership with Dr. Paul as a way to speed up offerings so patients could benefit quicker."
Though the team has been acquainted with Paul and BioAnalysis for some time, the partnership became official this month.
“At CBM it’s our goal to establish a single point of contact to streamline the path to approval for our companies,” Cipriano said. “We saw this partnership with Dr. Paul as a way to speed up offerings so patients could benefit quicker.”
Since it was established in 2020, the Center for Breakthrough Medicines has added some key players to its team that manage its facility and manufacturing contracts with companies in the cell and gene therapy space. It takes up nearly 700,000 square feet of space at Discovery Labs and works with facets of the manufacturing space from pre-clinical through commercial manufacturing capabilities. That includes cell processing, testing and analytics and process development, among others.
Early this year, the Center also announced it had received $350 million in equity financing from South Korea-based Sk Inc. The investment will go toward enhancing its pre-clinical through commercial manufacturing capabilities, as well as work on integrating process development, viral vector manufacturing, cell processing, plasmid DNA, cell banking, and a full suite of complementary analytical development and testing capabilities.
Cell and gene therapies have long been used to treat rare and genetic diseases, but the pandemic showed they could be applicable in more common cases. Paul told Technical.ly that he can see the future of medicine working toward long-term solutions for chronic and common illnesses that for so long have only had treatments equivalent to a “band-aid.” And as a BIPOC founder in the cell and gene therapy space, he feels BioAnalysis represents “what the future of science should be.”
“We are a diverse group with the expertise to back it up,” Paul said, “and my goal is to have an impact on both the community and the field of science with this work.”