Wheeler Bio announces grand opening of biomanufacturing facility

Published: 5-Oct-2023

The CDMO for next-gen protein therapeutics Wheeler Bio has partnered with Echo Investment Capital to open its drug substance Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP) facility inside the latter's Ziggurat building

CDMO Wheeler Bio has announced the grand opening of their state-of-the-art drug substance Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP) facility inside the Ziggurat building (Echo Investment Capital) in Oklahoma City, OK.  

By partnering uniquely with venture capital, Wheeler helps to ease the translational process from discovery to clinic for clients in biologics innovation.

Founded by Dr Jesse McCool, Christian Kanady of Echo, and Errik Anderson of Alloy Therapeutics and 82VS in 2021, the first-in-class CDMO was designed to provide accelerative development services to biotech startups and emerging biopharma innovators at a fair price. 

“We are leveraging the cost advantages and the trained biomanufacturing workforce in Oklahoma City to create a highly differentiated CDMO,” stated Jesse McCool, Co-Founder and CEO at Wheeler. “With our accessible, modular approach to CMC development, extensive technology stack, and pools-based workflow parallelisation, Wheeler is raising the bar for early-clinical-phase biologics services.” 

Wheeler’s stunning new 35,000 sqft CGMP facility is comprised of two single-use drug substance lines (50L and 500L scale HyPerforma™ DynaDrive™), warehousing, cold chain, a buffer and media prep suite, two master cell banking suites, a RightSourceSM quality control testing lab (Charles River Labs), document control, utilities, and office space.

It’s incredible to see it all come to fruition within Echo’s venture studio

- Christian Kanady, Founding Partner and CEO of Echo

The brownfield project was designed, built, and delivered under budget and ahead of schedule by Wheeler Bio, CRB, and Lingo Construction Services in collaboration with automation and validation partners Lucid and CAI. Two commissioning runs were completed recently using Wheeler’s Portable CMC antibody process platform, and the first client orders for CGMP drug substance batches have already been received.

"The expansion is transformative, allowing Wheeler to provide our clients with high-quality clinical trial materials in rapid time. We are excited to see our innovative facility design successfully implemented, and we look forward to serving our clients," said Yuk Chiu, Chief Manufacturing Officer at Wheeler Bio. 

Coupled with a novel hub-and-spoke operational model (satellite preclinical material supply labs in metro areas with strong biotech clusters), Wheeler Bio is more accessible, more affordable, and more agile than larger CDMO service providers. The Portable CMC™ platform encompasses state-of-the-art process development capabilities overseen by seasoned staff, along with the latest technologies enabling excellence in CGMP manufacturing. 

"I am thrilled that Wheeler Bio is officially opening its doors for business, and I am proud to celebrate this significant milestone with my co-founders, public and private partners, and numerous friends and supporters from our community and beyond,” said Christian Kanady, Founding Partner and CEO of Echo. “The ribbon cutting represents the culmination of a vision ready to be set in full motion."

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Kanady continued:  "What started as a novel idea just a few short years ago is now a full-service biologics development and manufacturing provider, offering a streamlined one-stop-shop to solve key challenges for drug developers. Situated in the heart of our downtown, closely aligned with and near the OKC Innovation District and greater healthcare ecosystem, Wheeler Bio is, by design, positioned to seamlessly connect customers with exceptional development and clinical resources. It’s incredible to see it all come to fruition within Echo’s venture studio.” 

“This is an exciting day for Wheeler Bio. Our goal was to solve an outdated CDMO model for the innovator market segment. It resulted in a hub-and-spoke operational model where we can offer innovators excellence in execution from an affordable cost base, along with access to capital networks and world-class clinical resources,” said Errik Anderson, CEO at Alloy Therapeutics.  

“We are extremely pleased to be working in close collaboration with Wheeler and their Portable CMC™ antibody process platform that helps facilitate the translation from preclinical discovery to clinical development. It is very exciting to see the opening of their new CGMP facility, and the addition of a RightSource lab, operated by Charles River’s industry-leading experts, will support expedited QC testing needs both for Wheeler and their clients,” said Professor Julie Frearson, Chief Scientific Officer, Charles River.

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