Catalent uncorks play in plasmid DNA with buyout of Belgian neighbor Delphi, Maryland expansion launch
Driven by booming demand for cell and gene therapy contract work, Catalent has signed some big checks in the past few years to secure its place as CDMO No. 1 in that space. Now, the manufacturer is targeting plasmid DNA production to dive even deeper — and it didn’t have to search long for a good place to start.
Catalent unveiled plans to dive headfirst into plasmid DNA production with the purchase of Belgian CDMO Delphi Genetics as well as the launch of manufacturing services in that space at its Rockville, Maryland facility, the company said Tuesday.
Delphi Genetics, founded in 2001 and headquartered near Catalent’s facility in Gosselies, Belgium, will add a 17,000-square-foot facility to the Catalent fold specializing in all stages of clinical plasmid supply. Non-chromosomal DNA plasmids are key components in some cell and gene therapies, a space where Catalent has plugged some major cash in recent years.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed and a Catalent spokesman didn’t respond to a request for comment. Catalent expects to absorb all of Delphi’s employees as part of the transition, according to a release.
Meanwhile, Catalent is also officially launching its own in-house plasmid manufacturing services at its Rockville site, an expansion that was announced back in 2019. The plant will craft clinical and commercial plasmid supply.
“Having integrated pDNA supply is a critical component for the fast and efficient production of viral vectors,” said Manja Boerman, president of Catalent’s cell and gene therapy unit. “By providing these capabilities in both Europe and the US, where the vast majority of genetic therapy companies are based, we will help our partners improve processes and reduce timelines as they bring their life-changing therapies to patients.”
It’s not the first time Catalent has bought out one of its Belgian neighbors amid a broad-scale expansion on both sides of the Atlantic. Back in February 2020, Catalent shelled out $315 million for MaSTherCell Global and its 32,000 square-foot facility in Houston along with a 25,000 square-foot facility in Gosselies. MaSTherCell also plotted a 60,000-square-foot addition in Belgium that’s set to open in Fall 2021.
In October of last year, Catalent acquired another Gosselies cell and gene therapy player, Bone Therapeutics, and its 31,000-square-foot for a meager $14 million. A month earlier, Catalent outlined its plans to infuse $130 million into its cell and gene therapy manufacturing facility in Harmans, Maryland, specifically targeting late clinical-stage supply.
That investment will add five late-stage clinical and commercial manufacturing suites to the Harmans site, bringing the site’s total number of manufacturing suites to 15 at the planned 350,000-square-foot complex near the Baltimore/Washington International airport.
The Harmans facility recently received FDA approval for commercial production, and its initial 10 manufacturing suites are set to be fully operational by the first quarter of 2021.
The five new suites will be located in a second building at the site that will also house cold-storage warehousing and added office space, Catalent said. The Harmans complex is one of five Maryland sites for Catalent’s cell and gene therapy manufacturing portfolio.