London and New Jersey-based cell and gene therapy (CGT) manufacturing technology firm Ori Biotech aims to accelerate CGT manufacturing processes. The company was highlighted on our recent roundup of prominent cell and gene therapy vendors in 2023.
In January 2022, the company secured more than $100 million in a Series B funding round, enabling the move from pre-commercialization to market launch. According to CEO Jason C. Foster, the company has grown from “three of us in the biotech equivalent of a garage” to 72 employees and raised $140 million in venture funding to date.
From investor to CEO of Ori Biotech
Foster met the Ori team in 2018, working with them as an investor. He later joined full time as CEO after the company closed its first institutional round in 2019.
Ori Biotech has developed a proprietary platform that automates and standardizes CGT manufacturing. The platform helps therapy developers, contract manufacturers and academic researchers transition from pre-clinical process discovery through clinical trials to commercial scale. Foster believes their technology can streamline processes, cut costs and improve access to life-saving therapies.
A mission to increase patient access
Foster emphasizes the company’s mission to enable widespread patient access to cell and gene therapies, including the potential for curing cancer. However, he acknowledges that if these therapies cannot be produced affordably and made accessible to patients, their potential may never be fully realized. “If we can’t manufacture them affordably and only a very, very few patients get access, then the modality might kind of wither away as a fantastic science project that never quite got to achieve its full potential,” Foster said. “In today’s world, we’re treating tens or hundreds of patients when tens of thousands could benefit,” he emphasizes.
In March 2021, Ori Biotech received Frost & Sullivan’s 2021 Global Enabling Technology Leadership Award in the cell and gene therapy manufacturing market. Foster comments on the award, saying, “it’s always nice to be recognized for bringing innovation,” and acknowledges that there is still a lot of work to do.
Ori Biotech’s partnership with CTMC
In September 2022, Ori Biotech partnered with the Cell Therapy Manufacturing Center (CTMC) to accelerate novel cell therapy development, clinical implementation and commercialization. CTMC a joint venture between National Resilience and MD Anderson Cancer Center. Foster explains that the current CGT manufacturing processes are manual, time-consuming, and costly, which hinders widespread patient access to life-saving treatments. The industry must tackle these issues to ensure CGT therapy viability and affordability.
Foster also shared more information on the partnership with CTMC, describing it as a “fantastic opportunity” for Ori Biotech to put their platform in the hands of experts and receive valuable feedback. The partnership aims to accomplish two main goals. First, it will focus on exploring the possibility of distributed manufacturing using Ori’s IoT-native platform. Second, it will demonstrat Ori’s ability to deliver the right Critical Quality Attributes (CQAs) and outputs for an internal process at MD Anderson, which currently relies on a non-scalable system. These objectives could include Ori in its first clinical trial within two years, marking a significant milestone for the company.
Filed Under: Cell & gene therapy
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