Forge Biologics continues its hot streak with $90M round to boost gene therapy manufacturing services
Over the past two years, the Ohio-based gene therapy manufacturer Forge Biologics has managed to get a large amount of capital to scale up its AAV production capabilities. And as the field continues to grow, the company looks to grow along with it.
The company announced Monday that it has raised $90 million in a Series C funding round, bringing the total amount raised so far to $330 million. In an interview with Endpoints News, Forge Biologics CEO Tim Miller said that the round itself took only a few months to put together as firms had approached Forge to participate.
As for what the round is going toward, Miller told Endpoints that the funding raise is meant to help accelerate additional client offerings. Miller said that as regulatory bodies become more stringent on how they look at gene therapy products, the company is helping to try to address that by putting in an automated fill along with other elements the company is planning to put in on the front end of its AAV manufacturing process.
Miller also said that funds are also earmarked for adding proprietary technology that the company has been working on as well as boosting Forge’s manufacturing systems and cell line development. The company will add more 5,000-liter bioreactors to support its AAV clients.
“There are almost 400 active clinical trials in gene therapy right now. And AAV is still the majority of vector for gene therapeutic approaches,” Miller told Endpoints. “So, for us, it’s about expanding into those 5000-liter bioreactors, those of the largest bioreactors in the industry for suspension-based growth. And, you know, as we ramp those up in 2023, it’s really exciting to see that there are groups that are already looking at using those for their larger patient populations.”
He also added that Forge is planning to hire aggressively on the back of the raise. With the company sitting at a headcount of around 250, Miller plans to add another 50 to 75 employees in the next 12 months to help meet demand.
Forge’s 200,000 square-foot space in Columbus, OH, along with its 20 GMP suites, enables the company to expand internally and to meet demand when needed so any more physical buildouts are not in the cards currently.
In terms of any potential future funding or an IPO, Miller said that the company is currently bringing in revenue, allowing the company to be more strategic with taking on new rounds of funding.
The Columbus area has also been growing for biotech manufacturing as Amgen broke ground on a $365 million plant in New Albany, OH last year. In May, AmplifyBio received $150 million to establish a new 350,000 square-foot facility.
The round for Forge was led by Drive Capital and Aisling Capital, along with a strategic investor who was not disclosed.