A Bob Nelsen startup turns to Harvard to help sharpen its tech, inspiring first spinout
One of Bob Nelsen’s latest projects is headed to Harvard.
Resilience, a company started with the goal of establishing itself as a “one-stop-shop” for companies looking to scale manufacturing, including for hard-to-develop cell and gene therapies, is less than a year old. Friday, it announced a five-year R&D deal with Harvard University that includes $30 million to develop biologics, including vaccines, nucleic acids and cell and gene therapies.
Resilience will fund research focused on certain therapeutics and biomanufacturing technologies in the university’s labs. New companies are expected to arise out of this research as well, the company said. One spinout, dubbed Circle Therapeutics, has already been created, and will carry forward Harvard biologist Lee Rubin’s work on skeletal muscle stem cells for use in in vitro cell therapies. That academic project is led by staff scientist Feodor Price.
“For six decades since the discovery of the satellite cell, it has not been possible to expand therapeutic numbers of satellite cells in vitro, until we made real headway on it at Harvard,” Rubin, a professor of stem cell and regenerative biology, said in the press release. “We’re truly excited for the possible therapeutic impact of our innovations.”
Rubin’s lab has previously received support from the Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator. The hope is that with additional funding, the team will be able to fast-track the technology to treat patients. Resilience and Harvard have asked for calls for proposals to identify other projects to be funded at Harvard, and Resilience will get options to license the technology coming from the projects.
“This research alliance with Resilience will help support biomedical innovation at Harvard,” Isaac Kohlberg, Harvard’s chief technology development officer, said. “Collaborating to both advance Harvard science and place arising technologies with dedicated new ventures, we can provide yet another valuable source of support and industry expertise to translational biomedical researchers across Harvard’s schools as they seek to impact human health for the better.”
In July, Resilience shelled out $110 million to buy a lentiviral vector manufacturing site in Durham, NC. As a part of the deal, bluebird and spinoff 2seventy will still have access to the LVV manufacturing for the pipeline programs. Resilience and 2seventy are collaborating on its emerging pipeline.
Before that, Resilience picked up CDMO Ology Bioservices, a Florida CDMO that has partnered with the Department of Defense on a Covid-19 antibody. It’s also established itself in Canada, after a pair of deals. One gave it $163 million in spending from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s administration, and the second was an agreement with Moderna to make mRNA for the drugmaker’s Covid-19 vaccine.