By now, you’ve probably read the news that The Discovery Labs and Deerfield Management Company have formed The Center for Breakthrough Medicines — the CDMO they’ve referred to as the world’s largest in the cell and gene therapy sector. It will be located in the Greater Philadelphia Area — King of Prussia, PA to be exact. The CDMO will occupy more than 40% of The Discovery Labs’ 1.6 million square foot biotech, healthcare, and life sciences campus.
The Discovery Labs is establishing THE COLONY, which will provide custom-built discovery labs, breakthrough funding, sponsored research agreements, housing and relocation for the world’s leading iconic experts in cell and gene therapy. THE COLONY will work with scientists from both academic and pharmaceutical institutions uncover and expedite groundbreaking therapies.
To learn more about The Center for Breakthrough Medicines, I talked to Audrey Greenberg, Executive Managing Director and Board Member of The Discovery Labs. Here’s what she had to say.
Explain The Center for Breakthrough Medicines. When is it slated to open/launch? Will The Center for Breakthrough Medicines work with North American biotechs? Global? Greater Philadelphia Region only?
There is not a set open date yet. The site will become operational in late 2020, Commissioning and qualification will follow, and timing will be based on the process and client requirements. The Center will work with biotech companies around the world.
This business model is referred to as visionary. Why and how so?
The business plan is visionary for the following reasons. First, the unique offering covers the entire life cycle of a drug from idea to commercialization including:
Unite IQ — incubator space
Discovery and R&D lab space
THE COLONY where scientists can co-create, convene, and collaborate on life-saving therapies
Process Development and Testing Labs
Small- and large-scale CGMP manufacturing
Second, The Center for Breakthrough Medicines will optimize the supply chain by being able to produce everything needed in the lifetime of a drug in one location, including plasmids, AAVs, LVs, and cell processing.
Third, The Center is an amenity rich environment, putting the “life” in life sciences with an on-site fitness center, curated programming, restaurants, and coffee shops and hiking, running and walking trails throughout the campus.
Explain The COLONY. What can the sector expect from it?
The goal of THE COLONY is to remove the barriers that world-class scientists face when trying to research and develop lifesaving treatments, whether they are lacking funding, lab space, or anything in between. THE COLONY is a structure that will provide an environment where the best scientists from all around the country and the world can come to work with all of the resources they need to create life-saving treatments. World class scientists, from both academic and pharmaceutical institutions, can work to unlock and expedite groundbreaking therapies.
It will provide custom-built discovery labs, breakthrough funding, sponsored research agreements, housing and relocation for the world’s leading iconic experts in cell and gene therapy.
What is the plan for The Center for Breakthrough Medicines to truly stop bottlenecks in the manufacturing process?
Currently, there is a 18-36 month wait for a lenti and adeno associated viral vectors with the manufacturing of complex molecules underserved by 5x. According to Bioplan, the anticipated shortfall is expected to increase by 50x in five years. We are building capacity to help alleviate these supply constraints and bottlenecks both in the procurement of raw materials and the capacity needed to manufacture gene and cell therapies.