Oxford BioMedica buys plant from RecipharmCobra Biologics


Oxford firm gains greater control of its LentiVector gene delivery technology

Oxford BioMedica, a UK-based gene therapy company, is to acquire a manufacturing facility, based in Oxford, from RecipharmCobra Biologics, the specialist biologics division of Recipharm, for £1.9m.

The acquisition and operation of this plant will be funded with the proceeds of the company’s £20m fundraising, which closed on 10 January. The deal should go through by the end of February.

Oxford BioMedica said the manufacturing facility would give it greater control of the production of its proprietary LentiVector gene delivery technology to support five of the company’s clinical programmes.

With the ocular products partnered with sanofi-aventis advancing into Phase I/II trials during 2011 and the planned progression of ProSavin into a randomised Phase II study for Parkinson’s disease in 2012, the facility will deliver long-term operational and financial efficiencies compared with outsourcing to a specialist contract manufacturer.

The 16,000ft2 facility includes around 4,400ft2 in cleanrooms, and is already configured to meet the company’s manufacturing requirements. The UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has previously approved the plant to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards.

Oxford BioMedica anticipates that recommissioning of the facility will take around 12 months. This will include the first phase of staff recruitment towards the anticipated fully operational level of about 35 to 40 employees. The company estimates an annual running cost of approximately £2.2m each year for the facility.

John Dawson, chief executive of Oxford BioMedica, said: ‘We look forward to the significant growth of our clinical portfolio from two lead products, ProSavin for Parkinson’s disease and RetinoStat for “wet” AMD, to five clinical products using our proprietary LentiVector gene delivery technology.

‘Investment in our specialist manufacturing processes will ensure the rapid progression of these five products through Phase II, Phase III and to market.’