CDMO Vibalogics, speeding toward U.S. commercial plant, pumps $50M into viral vector capacity

Vibalogics is boosting virotherapy manufacturing capacity at its plant in Cuxhaven, Germany. (Vibalogics)

As Vibalogics looks to carve out a manufacturing foothold in the U.S., the CDMO is turning back to its native Germany to pump another $50 million into viral vector production. 

The cash will fuel an upgrade to "virotherapy" manufacturing capacity for early-to-late-phase clinical projects at Vibalogics' plant in Cuxhaven, Germany, Vibalogics said in a release.

The move comes just a few months after Vibalogics unveiled plans for a $150 million factory near Boston, where the company will make clinical- and commercial-stage oncolytic viruses and viral vectors for vaccines and cell and gene therapies. 

Vibalogics has already kicked off the first phase of its $50 million Cuxhaven expansion, which will grow the German facility to more than 100,000 square feet. With the expansion, Vibalogics will beef up its offerings in process development, drug substance manufacturing, drug product fill and more.

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The initial expansion should be up and running by January, and Vibalogics says it plans to continue growing the location next year. By 2024, the company aims to add at least 160 new staffers there.

Late last year, Vibalogics planted a flag in the U.S. with plans to stand up a $150 million, 140,000 square foot virotherapy facility in Boxborough, Massachusetts, close to Boston's booming biopharma ecosystem.

The company expects that site, which will double as its new global headquarters, to be operational by the second half of 2021. Vibalogics didn't comment on the timeline for its Massachusetts plant in its latest release, and the company didn't immediately reply to Fierce Pharma's request for comment. 

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Shortly before unveiling its plans stateside, Vibalogics summoned Lonza veteran Tom Hochuli to take the helm as its CEO. Hochuli, the former cell and gene therapy operations head at Lonza's Houston area site, immediately began scouting a site for Vibalogics' U.S. expansion.

"If we look at our portfolio of customers, they're large, top-10 pharmas and biotechs; many are located in the U.S., and our feeling is we can better serve (them by) being on both sides of the Atlantic," Hochuli said in September.

Meanwhile, private equity firm Ampersand Capital Partners acquired Vibalogics in 2019, shortly after selling its share in viral vector producer Brammer Bio to Thermo Fisher Scientific for $1.7 billion.