VectorBuilder bags $57M to build out gene delivery capabilities

VectorBuilder Biotechnology has secured investor backing for its push to support gene delivery, raising a 410 million Chinese yuan ($57 million) series C financing round to upgrade and expand its R&D and manufacturing capabilities. 

The company, which was founded by the University of Chicago’s Bruce Lahn, Ph.D., outlicenses gene delivery intellectual property and provides gene-drug contract development and manufacturing services. To support those activities, VectorBuilder plans to invest $500 million in a site in Guangzhou, China, where it will develop and manufacture plasmids, mRNA and viral and non-viral vectors. 

Legend Capital, a China-focused VC shop, has signed up to support VectorBuilder’s expansion by jointly leading a series C investment. Lahn, the chief scientist at VectorBuilder, set out how the money will be used in a statement.

“We hope to take this financing round as an opportunity to further accelerate the comprehensive upgrade and optimization of the technology platform and promote the expansion of production capacity and global presence. We will empower the gene-drug industry through core technologies and help China to ‘overtake’ on the genetic drug track,” Lahn said. 

VectorBuilder previously disclosed plans to invest $30 million in the development of a comprehensive collection of novel adeno-associated virus (AAV) capsids. The collection, which VectorBuilder will open up for free nonprofit research use and license-based for-profit use, is underpinned by an AAV capsid screening platform that enables the company to survey the spectrum of potential capsid sequences.

The company is one of a number of players that are expanding to try to meet the explosion in demand for gene delivery technologies and services that has occurred as more gene therapies have entered the clinic.