Thermo Fisher hooks gut onto its gene therapy pipeline, inks new collaboration pact
Seven months ago, Thermo Fisher spent $1.7 billion to add a gene therapy company to its sprawling biotech business, purchasing Brammer Bio. Now they’ve signed a collaboration deal with another, newly well-funded, company from the same founder to expand its gene therapy work into the microbiome.
Thermo Fisher announced a collaboration with microbiome product manufacturer Arranta Bio as the startup announced an $82 million funding round. The young CDMO will provide its live biopharmaceuticals to Thermo Fisher to use in gene therapy production.
Thermo Fisher has entered the gene therapy space as the field fills with biotechs who, eyeing the clinic, will demand more of the necessary materials than existing manufacturers have the capacity to provide. An October investor report from Jefferies argued that going forward, the ability to manufacture gene therapy products may be just as important as perfecting the science behind them, Biopharma Dive reported.
“A vast majority of companies rely on contract manufacturing organizations to fill this role,” they wrote. “However, with the recent explosion of gene therapy programs, a shortage of CMOs and human capital has resulted, driving many companies to bring manufacturing in-house.”
Arranta’s CEO and founder Mark Bamforth has a long relationship with Thermo Fisher, selling them Brammer this year and in 2014 selling Gallus Biopharmaceuticals to Patheon, now a Thermo Fisher subsidiary. The sole institutional investor for this funding round was Ampersand Capital Partners —where Bamforth is also a partner. The rest came from “company founders and colleagues,” along with an infusion from Thermo Fisher.