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HomeUncategorizedCell Therapy Pioneers Team Up to Found Viral Vector CDMO Backed by...

Cell Therapy Pioneers Team Up to Found Viral Vector CDMO Backed by $64M – MedCity News

Frank Vinluan

Philadelphia, the birthplace of American democracy, is also the birthplace of the first FDA-approved cell and gene therapies. Now the city is home to a new company that manufactures a component key to delivering these advanced therapies where they need to go in the body.

On Tuesday, VintaBio revealed $64 million in financing and a new Philadelphia manufacturing facility. The young contract development manufacturing organization (CDMO) focuses on making viral vectors, the engineered viruses that are delivery vehicles for cell and gene therapies. VintaBio’s new financing was led by Decheng Capital.

The field of cell and gene therapy R&D is booming as approved treatments pave the way for a growing number of new companies. But one limiting factor for the entire sector is the availability of viral vectors. VintaBio will provide manufacturing services to a wide range of entities developing new therapies for clinical trials, from pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to academic institutions and government bodies.

VintaBio was co-founded by Junwei Sun and Shangzhen Zhou, both of them University of Pennsylvania researchers who were key to the development of the CAR T-cell therapy that became Kymriah, the Novartis product that was the first FDA-approved cell therapy. They were also involved in the research that led to the first two FDA-approved gene therapies, Luxturna from Spark Therapeutics and Zolgensma from Novartis.

VintaBio is led by newly appointed CEO David Radspinner, a life sciences veteran whose experience includes positions at GE Healthcare Life Science (now Cytiva) and Thermo Fisher Scientific. The company’s manufacturing capabilities include both adeno-associated viral vectors and lentiviral vectors.

Other companies have emerged to fill viral vector manufacturing needs. Lentiviral vector focused-Vector BioMed launched in January also boasting of Penn ties. The Gaithersburg, Maryland-based company is led by CEO Boro Dropulić, who worked on the Penn team that developed the lentiviral vector used in Kymriah. Meanwhile, Forge Biologics focuses on developing AAV viral vectors. That Colombus, Ohio-based company closed a $90 million Series C round of financing last September.

Photo: SeanPavonePhoto, Getty Images

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