Hot off of a $210M Series B, Umoja breaks ground in Colorado on CAR-T site
Boulder County, CO, is getting a new manufacturing facility, and it will come from a Seattle oncology company focused on CAR T-cell immunotherapies.
Umoja Biopharma broke ground on a new facility for in vivo immunotherapies for solid tumors and hematologic malignancies, the company announced Monday. The site is the company’s next step toward bringing CAR-T therapies to cancer patients. The 146,000-square-foot facility will have labs, offices and space for lentiviral vector production.
Manufacturing will first kick off in Q1 2023, and the company just announced a Series B financing round worth $210 million, which helped fund the new Colorado site, plus expanded hiring at its Seattle headquarters.
In a press release, CEO Andy Scharenberg said:
Manufacturing is a critical strategic component of Umoja’s approach to delivering the future of cancer immunotherapies, ensuring our treatments are widely accessible in a timely way and at a reasonable cost – all barriers that have long held the landscape of CAR T treatments back. Our facility in Colorado represents a significant investment into our commitment to bring novel therapies to cancer patients, as well as in how those therapies are produced, stored, and distributed. This facility will substantially enhance our company’s vector manufacturing, process development, and formulation capabilities, and we are extremely proud to announce the groundbreaking as the first step in bringing these capabilities on line.
The company was founded based on work from Seattle Children’s Research Institute and Purdue University. Its lead candidates are VivoVec UB-VV100 for hematological cancers, which is a lentiviral vector delivered in vivo to generate a population of CD19-targeting, cancer killing CAR-T cells within a patient’s body, and TumorTag UB-TT170 for pediatric osteosarcoma, which is a binder that flags cancer cells for destruction. Both candidates are in the preclinical stage. A third pillar involves small molecule modulators that can control how CAR-T cells function within the body.
Cofounder and CTO Ryan Crisman was tasked with beefing up the manufacturing. The new site will help streamline the process and eliminate costly, time-consuming steps.
“The experienced workforce and extensive infrastructure made Boulder County a clear choice for Umoja’s new manufacturing home. We look forward to partnering with the community to build a facility that will make a truly meaningful impact on the future of cancer treatment,” he said in a statement.