Chase Coffman, Elektrofi CEO

Boston start­up looks to make a big man­u­fac­tur­ing push with new fund­ing round

As drug man­u­fac­tur­ing star­tups gain more no­to­ri­ety with in­vestors, most no­tably with the re­cent deals sur­round­ing Re­silience, an­oth­er start­up is look­ing to take its next steps in the space on the back of a Se­ries B raise.

Boston-based Elek­trofi, which has been around since 2016, has net­ted a $40 mil­lion Se­ries B round, the com­pa­ny an­nounced Mon­day. Elek­trofi is pri­mar­i­ly fo­cused on man­u­fac­tur­ing sev­er­al kinds of med­i­cines in­clud­ing mon­o­clon­al an­ti­bod­ies, ther­a­peu­tic pro­teins and oth­er large mol­e­cule drugs.

Elek­trofi CEO Chase Coff­man told End­points News that the com­pa­ny has been work­ing to de­vel­op a new way to de­liv­er drugs, with a par­tic­u­lar fo­cus on an­ti­body-based ther­a­pies. The idea is to shift the set­ting of care from the clin­ic in­to the home with self-ad­min­is­tered ther­a­pies.

Coff­man said that Elek­trofi aims to stray from the paths of tra­di­tion­al biotech in the sense that the com­pa­ny is not de­vel­op­ing its pro­pri­etary suite of prod­ucts or pipelines.

“In­stead, what we’re do­ing is we’re team­ing up with ma­jor multi­na­tion­al bio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies … to de­vel­op new and im­proved at-home self-ad­min­is­ter sub­cu­ta­neous prod­ucts around their as­sets us­ing our de­liv­ery plat­form,” he said.

The com­pa­ny so far has man­aged to se­cure con­tracts with sev­er­al ma­jor com­pa­nies in­clud­ing Take­da and LEO Phar­ma, cen­tered around plas­ma and mon­o­clon­al an­ti­body pro­duc­tion, re­spec­tive­ly.

For the raise it­self, Coff­man said it came about very quick­ly with the com­pa­ny on­ly mar­ket­ing the raise around Jan­u­ary, which he stressed was crit­i­cal as the mar­ket gets ever more pre­car­i­ous for biotechs.

“There are a lot of head­winds com­pa­nies like us that are try­ing to raise mon­ey or hav­ing to cut through,” he said. “But in the best of times, four to six months is typ­i­cal­ly the best you can hope for. So, the fact that we got this done in five months, in spite of the pre­vail­ing fi­nan­cial cli­mate, I think that that’s a sig­nif­i­cant tes­ta­ment to the val­ue that we’ve cre­at­ed as a com­pa­ny to this point.”

The funds will be go­ing to­wards clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment, with a por­tion of the pro­ceeds go­ing to­wards get­ting a GMP line on­line. Elek­trofi is look­ing to have that run­ning by the sec­ond half of next year. Se­ries B cash will al­so help boost clin­i­cal de­vel­op­ment with­in the next two years. Af­ter that, the rest of the round will be about en­abling the com­pa­ny to broad­en its pipeline as well as bring­ing the num­ber of em­ploy­ees at Elek­trofi to 60 or 70 with­in the next 12 to 18 months.

Coff­man said that the round al­so gives Elek­trofi an “in­def­i­nite” run­way as the li­cens­ing mod­el giv­ing the com­pa­ny enough funds to stay afloat. How­ev­er, Coff­man said that he may take the com­pa­ny pub­lic with­in rough­ly 24 to 36 months.

The round was led by Mar­shall Wace and BVF Part­ners, with par­tic­i­pa­tion from Janus Hen­der­son In­vestors and Lo­gos Cap­i­tal.

Paul Hudson, Sanofi CEO (Cyril Marcilhacy/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

FDA side­lines Paul Hud­son's $3.7B MS drug af­ter es­tab­lish­ing link to liv­er dam­age

One of Sanofi CEO Paul Hudson’s top picks in the pipeline — picked up in a $3.7 billion buyout 2 years ago — has just been sidelined in the US by a safety issue.

The pharma giant put out word early Thursday that the FDA has put their Phase III studies of tolebrutinib in multiple sclerosis and myasthenia gravis on partial clinical hold, halting enrollment and suspending dosing for patients who have been on the drug for less than 60 days. Patients who have completed at least 60 days of treatment can continue therapy as researchers explore a “limited” — but unspecified in Sanofi’s statement — number of cases of liver injury.

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Phar­ma re­acts to post-Roe; Drug­mak­ers beef up cy­ber de­fense; Boehringer, Roche qui­et­ly axe drugs; and more

Welcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week’s top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.

As a reminder, we are off on Monday for the Fourth of July. I hope this recap will kick off your (long) weekend well and that the rest of it will be just what you need. See you next week for a shortened edition!

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Eric Hughes, incoming Teva EVP of global R&D and CMO

Te­va chief raids Ver­tex for his new glob­al head of re­search and de­vel­op­ment

Teva CEO Kåre Schultz has found his new R&D chief and CMO in Vertex’s ranks.

The global generics giant, which has some 3,500 staffers in the R&D group, has named Eric Hughes to the top research spot in the company. He’ll be replacing Hafrun Fridriksdottir, who held the role for close to five years, on Aug. 1.

Hughes hasn’t been at Vertex for long, though. He jumped from Novartis less than a year ago, after heading the immunology, hepatology & dermatology global development unit. Before that, he completed a five-year stint as head of early clinical research for the specialty discovery medicine department in the exploratory clinical & translational research group at Bristol Myers Squibb, according to his LinkedIn profile.

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#BIO22: Man­ag­ing a biotech in tur­bu­lent times. 'There's a per­fect shit­show out there'

On Tuesday, June 14, Endpoints News EIC John Carroll sat down with a group of biotech execs to discuss the bear market for industry stocks and how they were dealing with it. Here’s the conversation, which has been lightly edited for brevity.

Martin Meeson, sponsor opening:

Thank you, John. Hello everyone. My name’s Martin Meeson, I’m the CEO of Fujifilm Diosynth. For those of you who don’t know Fujifilm Diosynth, we operate in the development of clinical and commercial product scale up, we have facilities in Europe and the US, and around about 4,000 employees. We run on average about 150 programs, so when it comes to managing in turbulent times over the last two years, we’ve had quite a lot of experience of that. Not just keeping the clinical pipelines and the commercial pipelines open, but also our response to the pandemic and the molecules that we’ve had within there. One of the phrases that I coined probably about a year ago when we were talking at JP Morgan, was I talked about managing through turbulent times. Well, it’s become the fact that we are not managing and leading through these times, we are managing in them, which is why that’s really the purpose of and the topic that we’ve got today.

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On Friday, Lonza announced plans to construct a large-scale commercial drug product fill and finish facility in the town of Stein, Switzerland.

Lon­za to in­vest $500M+ on fill-fin­ish fa­cil­i­ty on its home turf

Lonza has been expanding its reach across the globe, bringing sites in China and the US online this year, but now they are looking closer to home for their next major investment.

The Swiss manufacturer on Friday announced plans to construct a large-scale commercial drug fill and finish facility in the town of Stein, Switzerland. The new facility will be delivered through an investment of approximately CHF 500 million, or $519 million, and is expected to be completed in 2026. The facility will also be constructed on the same campus as Lonza’s current clinical drug product facility.

Fu­ji­film in­vests an­oth­er $1.6B in­to its CD­MO arm to up­grade facil­lites in the US and Eu­rope

Fujifilm’s spending spree into its CDMO arm is not slowing down.

The multinational announced on Wednesday that it will invest $1.6 billion to enhance and expand the cell culture manufacturing services of the CDMO arm of the Japanese conglomerate Fujifilm Diosynth.

The investment will enhance Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies’ sites in Hillerød, Denmark, and College Station, TX. The investment is expected to create approximately 450 jobs across both facilities.

Emer Cooke, ICRMA chair (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

ICM­RA to launch sev­er­al reg­u­la­to­ry pi­lot pro­grams cen­tered around man­u­fac­tur­ing in­spec­tions

As regulatory agencies look to catch up on inspections amid the Covid-19 pandemic, ICMRA is unveiling several pilot programs to address industry applications and inspections.

ICMRA, which is made up of the world’s top drug regulators, is launching multiple pilot programs, including two regulatory pilots addressing facility inspections for chemistry and manufacturing controls (CMC) and post-approval change (PAC) submission assessments and related regulatory actions.

Man­u­fac­tur­ing roundup: Teru­mo BCT part­ners with Bio­Bridge sub­sidiary to man­u­fac­ture cell and gene ther­a­pies; WuXi STA opens plant for HPA­PI pro­duc­tion

As the manufacturing of cell and gene therapies is ramping up and companies are starting to invest in their manufacturing capabilities, Terumo Blood and Cell Technologies have formed a partnership to stay in the game.

According to the company, it has signed a new collaborative agreement with GenCure, a subsidiary of BioBridge Global, to extend and unify cell and gene therapy manufacturing solutions.

No­var­tis to re­sume the pro­duc­tion of two ra­di­oli­gand ther­a­pies af­ter re­solv­ing qual­i­ty is­sues

Earlier this year, Novartis touted its radioligand as a major piece to counter competition in the cancer space. However, the physical production of its products has had anything but a smooth ride.

In May, Novartis had to suspend production of Lutathera and Pluvicto, its two primary radiotherapies. According to the company, this was done out of an abundance of caution as a result of potential quality issues identified in its manufacturing. The production suspension impacts the commercial and clinical trial supply of the products.