New player jumping into cell therapies manufacturing

Brammer Bio CEO Mark Bamforth

With hundreds of cell and gene therapies percolating in clinics, a newly formed CDMO sees opportunity and says it's preparing to cash in on that with projects to expand both commercial and clinical manufacturing, including a plant near the Cambridge, MA, biotech hub.

Lexington, MA-based Brammer Biopharmaceuticals has merged with Alachua, FL-based Florida Biologix to form Brammer Bio. Terms of the merger were kept under wraps, but the new company said that it has gotten a capital infusion from Ampersand Capital Partners, Florida Biologix's majority owner.

The company will be run by CEO Mark Bamforth and CFO Steven Kasok, who were previously co-founders of Gallus Biopharmaceuticals, a contract manufacturer that was acquired in 2014 by Patheon parent DPx. Richard Snyder rounds out the management team as chief scientific officer. He is the founder of Florida Biologix, which was spun out of the University of Florida in 2015.

Brammer Bio CFO Steven Kasok

The combined company has 45,000 square feet of process development and Phase I/II clinical manufacturing space in Alachua, FL, and intends to double that. It also is developing a 50,000-square-foot facility in Lexington, MA, that can handle Phase III through commercial projects.

"We recently began exploring options for gaining access to larger-scale manufacturing capabilities," Snyder said.

The company will outfit an existing building with clean rooms for viral vector manufacturing and segregated clean rooms for cell and gene therapy production as well as a lab and offices, a spokesperson told FiercePharmaManufacturing. Work will begin midyear and is expected to be complete by the end of Q1 2017. Brammer Bio expects to employ 150 people at the facility.

The pairing of the experience of the Brammer team in commercial production with Florida Biologix's early phase knowledge is what Brammer Bio is counting on to draw clients. Much of that experience comes from Gallus' work in biologics. DPx struck a deal in August 2014 to buy Gallus, which had plants in Princeton, NJ, and St. Louis, and 400 employees. That deal was intended to help Patheon boost its own biologics manufacturing expertise. It added the Gallus facilities to its biologics group, which had existing sites in Groningen, the Netherlands and Brisbane, Australia.

- get the announcement here