Oncorus plots early-stage plant in Boston area as it walks I-O candidate through the clinic
Buoyed by what it called a successful 2020, Massachusetts-based Oncorus has snared a lease in the Boston area to lock down a manufacturing site for its clinical-stage oncology portfolio.
Oncorus, a five-year-old company, announced Monday that it signed a 15-year lease to build an 88,000-square-foot GMP viral immunotherapy clinical manufacturing facility in Andover, MA.
The company said in a press release that it anticipates the first phase of the facility will be finished by the end of 2021 and will prioritize process development and quality control. Once fully operational — projected in 2023 — Oncorus plans to have GMP multi-product manufacturing capabilities available to produce clinical-grade viral immunotherapies for investigational new drug and clinical studies.
Oncorus president and CEO Ted Ashburn, who hopped over to the startup from Moderna in 2018, said in a press release that the facility was made possible by its 2020 successes. The company initiated a study of solid tumor cancer immunotherapy ONCR-177, signed a clinical collaboration and supply agreement with Merck for therapeutics, and launched an $87 million IPO.
“Now we’re thrilled to announce that we’ve signed a lease for our planned manufacturing facility, which will play a central role in enabling us to advance our mission to realize the full promise of viral immunotherapy for cancer patients,” Ashburn said. “Operational and manufacturing scale-up will be a strategic priority for Oncorus going forward.”
Not all financial details of the new facility are publicly available, an Oncorus spokesperson told Endpoints News, but the company did offer some insight in its S1 filings prior to its October IPO.
Roughly $18.9 million of the IPO proceeds will be used for capital and operational expenditures, as well as personnel at the new facility, according to the filing. Oncorus also disclosed that it will need another $30 million in capital expenditures for the facility buildout.
In addition to its IPO financing, Oncorus landed a $89.6 million Series B in 2019 led by Cowen and Perceptive Advisors for its work in the oncolytic virus space. And as of October, the biotech has spent $96.3 million.
The facility construction is the latest sign that the biotech will be a player to watch in the months and years to come. After Ashburn jumped on board from Moderna, for example, Oncorus continued to pull from the manufacturing giant when Steve Harbin came online as COO in December.
Harbin was a big get for the relatively new biotech, as he served as Moderna’s chief sustainability officer, head of corporate facilities and head of the mRNA biotech’s manufacturing site before retiring in 2019. He also has credits from roles at Eli Lilly and bioMérieux.