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GEN News Highlights : Jan 31, 2011

Oxford BioMedica Buys Manufacturing Facility from RecipharmCobra for £1.9M

Plant will be used to generate LentiVector gene delivery technology.

Oxford BioMedica has acquired a manufacturing facility in Oxford, U.K., from RecipharmCobra Biologics for £1.9 million. The new facility will be used to manufacture BioMedica’s LentiVector® gene delivery technology, initially in support of five of its clinical programs. The firm says having its own manufacturing plant means it will not be so dependent on outsourced production. It will pay for the acquisition through the proceeds of a recently completed £20 million fundraising.

Oxford BioMedica says it expects Phase I/II development of ocular products partnered with sanofi-aventis to start during 2011, and full Phase II studies with its LentiVector-based ProSavin® gene therapy for Parkinson disease to start in 2012. Phase I/II trials with ProSavin are ongoing. The sanofi-aventis partnership includes development of four LentiVector-based ocular therapies currently being prepared for Phase I/II studies. These include: RetinoStat® for wet age-related macular degeneration; StarGen® for Stargardt disease; UshStat® for Usher syndrome; and EncorStat®, for corneal graft rejection.

“Investment in our specialist manufacturing processes will ensure the rapid progression of these five products through Phase II, Phase III, and to market,” notes John Dawson, BioMedica’s CEO. “Importantly, this acquisition also provides the opportunity for Oxford BioMedica to become the LentiVector technology supplier of choice for its current and future partners which could provide additional revenues in the coming years.”

The acquired GMP facility is already configured to meet BioMedica’s manufacturing requirements, the firm states. It projects needing at least 12 months to re-commission the facility, including the first phase of staff recruitment. It estimates that when fully operational, the plant will cost about £2.2 million a year to run.