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Bluebird and Alexion veterans launch cell and gene venture ElevateBio

'Basecamp' will provide expertise and labs to launch multiple firms

Basecamp

The intense activity around cell and gene therapy continues apace, with the launch of ElevateBio in the biotech hub of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The company was unveiled yesterday by its co-founders David Hallal and Vikas Sinha, previously last chief exec and chief financial officer respectively of Alexion, with ex-Bluebird Bio chief scientific officer Mitchell Finer taking on the same role at the new venture.

Hallal and Sinha left Alexion under a cloud back in December 2016 after losing the confidence of the company’s board in relation to financial irregularities, but have now bounced back with ElevateBio, which aims to provide a springboard for multiple cell and gene enterprises.

The team says ElevateBio’s fully integrated business model will be efficiently structured to build single and multi-product cell and gene therapy companies by providing scientific founders with centralised bench-to-bedside capabilities including world-class scientists, manufacturing facilities, drug development and commercialisation expertise.

The model is similar to other recent launches in the biotech entrepreneur field, such as Vivek Ramaswamy’s Roivant and its host of 'vant’ specialist firms, aiming to create agile organisations which can bring novel therapies rapidly to proof-of-concept and beyond.

ElevateBio’s BaseCamp is a single R&D, process development and cGMP manufacturing company that provides centralised expertise for all ElevateBio portfolio companies, and also serves selected strategic partners.

The company has generated $150min Series A financing co-led by the UBS Oncology Impact Fund managed by MPM Capital and F2 Ventures, joined by EcoR1 Capital, Redmile Group, and Samsara BioCapital.

David Hallal

David Hallal

“ElevateBio is uniquely structured and positioned to leverage our cell and gene therapy company-building capabilities to accelerate development, manufacturing, and delivery of highly innovative therapies across a growing number of portfolio companies,” said David Hallal, ElevateBio co-founder, CEO and chairman.

“A foundational element of our scientific, clinical and financial strategy is ElevateBio BaseCamp, which is our single R&D, process development and manufacturing company that supports our portfolio companies and a select group of strategic partners that will benefit from our expertise and facilities. We look forward to announcing our initial portfolio companies and strategic partners in the coming weeks.”

The new venture has been ‘incubated’ by MPM Capital and F2 Ventures. One of Elevate’s founding investors, Ansbert Gadicke, M.D., co-founder of MPM Capital said:

“The track records of the ElevateBio leadership team in building iconic companies and creating value are unmatched, and we look forward to working with them as they execute on a new model in the field of cell and gene therapies.”

Mitchell Finer said: “In the field of cell and gene therapies, as well as regenerative medicine products, the lack of high-quality process development and manufacturing capability is among the most significant barriers to moving these therapies forward,”

He added: “Working within a single umbrella organisation of expert scientists and operators under one roof, we will rapidly and efficiently advance each development programme by providing our scientific founders with dedicated PD, manufacturing and drug development expertise and facilities. Together, we are reducing inefficiencies that drain capital and delay new therapies, so that we can rapidly and successfully move novel candidates from concept to commercialisation.”

Article by
Andrew McConaghie

14th May 2019

From: Research

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