Gene therapy biotech Jaguar spins out manufacturing company

Gene therapy biotech Jaguar spins out manufacturing company

  19 Jan 2024

Jaguar Gene Therapy is spinning out part of its business to handle the specialized work of manufacturing cell and gene therapies, launching Wednesday a new company called Advanced Medicine Partners. 

The spinout, which is backed by investors Deerfield Management, Arch Venture Partners and others, will provide manufacturing support to Jaguar as well as Deerfield-backed companies. It has also begun work for “several” biotechnology and pharmaceutical clients, the company said in a statement

Cell and gene therapies are complicated to make, often involving engineered viruses and custom-made nucleic acids. Ensuring consistent output while scaling up production to support larger clinical trials and, eventually, commercial sales is a particular challenge. 

Large contract manufacturers like Lonza and Catalent have built sizable businesses supporting cell and gene therapy development. But the field’s fast expansion, and corresponding demand for production help, have created an opportunity for smaller startups, too.

“With so many biotechnology companies being slowed or halted due to manufacturing challenges including product quality and scalability, we have the experienced people and technology to deliver what’s acutely needed right now,” Advanced Medicine Partners CEO Andrew Knudten said in the company’s statement. Knudten previously served as Jaguar’s chief operating officer. 

Advanced Medicine Partners highlighted its expertise with adeno-associated viruses, a benign type of virus that’s often engineered to serve as a delivery vehicle for gene therapies. The company says its AAV production process has been used in conjunction with multiple different genes and engineered capsids.

The company’s team includes veterans of AveXis, the biotech developer of Novartis’ spinal muscular atrophy treatment Zolgensma, as well as of Novartis and Amgen. It’s based in North Carolina with laboratory, office and warehouse space in the cities of Cary and Durham. A 174,000-square-foot manufacturing facility is also being built in Durham.

The company says it can currently support process and analytical development as well as manufacturing related to regulatory applications for beginning clinical testing. Production suites for clinical and commercial manufacturing are “in progress.”

Jaguar, which is in the process of transitioning Advanced Medicine Partners from subsidiary to independent, was launched in 2021 by former AveXis executives. It remains preclinical and has disclosed development plans for three gene therapies. 

Deerfield and Arch previously funded Jaguar. They’re joined by Nolan Capital in backing Advanced Medicine Partners. 

Editor’s Note: Advanced Medicine Partners reached out after publication to clarify that Jaguar intends the company to be independent and is in the process of transitioning it from a wholly owned subsidiary.

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