Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (NYSE: TMO) has entered a definitive agreement to acquire Brammer Bio, a contract manufacturing organization (CMO) specializing in cell and gene therapies (CGT). Valued at approximately $1.7 billion in cash, the transaction represents one of the most lucrative acquisitions of a cell and gene therapy CMO to date.
Thermo Fisher Scientific to Acquire Brammer Bio
Headquartered in Waltham, MA, Thermo Fisher Scientific is a biotechnology company focused on systems, consumables, and services for researchers. Thermo Fisher is a behemoth in the research sector, with an estimated market cap of $107.25 billion and annual revenues of more than $24 billion. The company employs approximately 70,000 employees worldwide.
Founded in 2013 as a neighboring company in Cambridge, MA, Brammer Bio identifies as a “viral vector contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) for companies developing gene-modified cell therapies and in vivo gene therapies.”
Brammer Bio’s management team is led by:
- President and CEO, Mark Bamforth
- Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Richard Snyder, the founder of Florida Biologix (spun out of the University of Florida in 2015)
- Chief Operating Officer (COO), Christopher Murphy
Despite its relative youth, Brammer Bio has experienced rapid growth of both employees and revenue over the past six years. It now employs nearly 600 people and is on track to produce $250 million in revenue in 2019.
Cell and Gene Therapy (CGT) Manufacturing
Among cell therapy companies, the pressure to manufacture innovation and optimization can incentivize them to seek third-party partners who possess technical, manufacturing, and regulatory expertise, such as cell therapy contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs). Benefits of partnering with a cell therapy CMO include scalability, speed to market, access to technical expertise without overhead costs, and cost efficiencies.
As stated by Marc Casper, President and CEO of Thermo Fisher Scientific:
“Brammer Bio will be an exciting addition to our pharma services business and will further strengthen Thermo Fisher’s leadership in serving pharma and biotech customers. Gene therapy is an area of increasing focus for our customers and is fast-evolving given its potential to treat a range of genetic disorders. The combination of Brammer Bio’s viral vector capabilities with our GMP production expertise and proprietary bioprocessing and cell culture technologies uniquely positions us to partner with our customers to drive the evolution of this incredibly fast-growing market.”
As stated by Brammer Bio co-founders Mark Bamforth and Dr. Richard Snyder:
“We are proud to be pioneers in process development and manufacturing of viral vectors. Brammer Bio has executed more than 100 projects to supply first-in-human gene therapy clinical trials and establish commercial-ready processes, and we’re excited to join Thermo Fisher to take our business to the next level. Our teams share a commitment to helping our customers succeed in delivering cutting-edge therapies to patients in need.”
Growth of the CGT CMO Market
In addition to this latest transaction by Thermo Fisher Scientific, the cell and gene therapy (CGT) CMO market has rapidly expanded in recent months. On January 3, 2019, FUJIFILM Cellular Dynamics, Inc. (FCDI), a US subsidiary of FUJIFILM Corporation, announced it is spending $21M to open a new cGMP-compliant production facility in Madison, Wisconsin. According to FCDI, the facility will support FCDI’s internal cell therapeutics pipeline, as well as serve as a Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO) for iPS cell products.
In the gene therapy manufacturing space, companies are also populating. As an example, biotech companies Vectalys and FlashCell merged in May 2018 to form Flash Therapeutics, a developer of non-integrating lentiviral delivered RNA treatments.
We are pleased to announce that Vectalys & Flashcell merge to create Flash Therapeutics, a new privately held #GeneTherapy company developing gene and cell #therapeutics. Find more about Flash Therapeutics on https://t.co/9FkFVhAwnA and the press release https://t.co/aYpmGDAua1 pic.twitter.com/skBOOS76h3
— Flash Therapeutics (@FlashTherapeutx) May 16, 2018
In addition to developing its own therapies, FlashCell is offering development and manufacturing support to companies worldwide pursuing lentiviral delivered therapies. According to FlashCell, it offers “worldwide contract development and manufacturing expertise and support – from discovery through GMP production – for clients developing lentivirally-delivered RNA and DNA therapies.”
Cell and Gene Therapy CMOs
Cell and gene therapy (CGT) manufacturing is becoming of growing importance as an increasing number of these products make their way through clinical trials. One of the major issues with moving CGT products from “bench to bedside” has been manufacturing bottlenecks. The heterogeneous nature of these products has introduced manufacturing complexity and regulatory concerns, as well as scale-up complexities that are not present within traditional pharmaceutical manufacturing.
There are now more than 40 CMOs that specialize in manufacturing and clinical trial support for cell and gene therapy companies.
To learn more about this expanding market, view BioInformant’s “Database of Cell and Gene Therapy CMOs / CDMOs.“
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