Cobra Biologics and Symbiosis awarded £1.9 m Innovate UK Grant

Funding will be used to develop world-leading capabilities in drug substance and drug product viral vector production for gene and immunotherapy

Cobra Biologics (Cobra), an international contract development and manufacturing organisation (CDMO) of biologics and pharmaceuticals, and Symbiosis Pharmaceutical Services (Symbiosis), a contract manufacturing organisation (CMO) specialising in sterile Fill Finish, were awarded a 16-month collaborative grant of £1.9 million from Innovate UK.

Peter Coleman, Chief Executive at Cobra Biologics, said: “Cell and gene therapy products are showing tremendous potential in the treatment of patients. The successful development and production of viral vectors to deliver these therapies is critical to the success of these products. I am looking forward to working closely with Symbiosis to help establish the UK as world leader in this exciting field.”

The grant will position the partner companies as globally recognised centres of excellence in the field and firmly establish commercial viral vector manufacturing capabilities within the UK.

The joint investment project, costing £4.8 million in total, aims to develop world leading capabilities for clinical and commercial production of gene and immunotherapy viral vectors for both drug substance and drug product manufacturing.

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.

Dr Ian Campbell, Director of Health and Life Sciences, Innovate UK, said: “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. Innovate UK funding for this vital project can help boost this sector and meet the needs of patients in the future.”

The resulting supply chain offering will support the clinical and commercial ambitions of drug developers, leading to more innovative gene and immunotherapy medicines reaching patients.

The grant is awarded under Innovate UK’s Health and Life Sciences Programme and is aligned with the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy to invest in and support the development of advanced therapies in the UK.

Colin MacKay, Chief Executive of Symbiosis, said: “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.”

“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.”