London-based biotech firm Ascend Gene & Cell Therapies has raised $132.5m (£105.1m) for its gene therapy manufacturing technology.
Founded by the VC firm Monograph Capital in 2021, Ascend helps gene therapy companies to transition their proposed products to feasible clinical programs.
Tim Funnell, an investor at Monograph Capital, said: “AAV manufacturing is complex and needs teams that show real expertise and ownership. This led many advanced modality biotech developers to build their own internal CMC capabilities.
“However, these companies are now finding it difficult to sustain and fully utilise their facilities.”
Advanced modalities biotechs can use Ascend for assistance with development, clinical manufacturing, analytics and regulation.
GMP production for Ascend is planned to take place at Potters Bar, North London. Whilst platform tech research will be based in the San Francisco Bay Area together with a Munich development and analytics team.
“Ascend is realigning this market by carving out CMC units from biotech product developers and offering their capabilities as a service to the originator alongside new clients,” added Funnell.
“This is a more efficient structure that consolidates best-of-breed manufacturing methods and will support the next generation of companies who are looking for external CMC partners.”
Abingworth and Petrichor led the biotech’s Series A round. DCVC Bio, 4BIO Capital, Cathay Health, Deerfield Management, Digitalis Ventures and Ajinomoto have also backed Ascend Gene & Cell Therapies.
The Series A capital allowed Ascend to acquire Freeline Therapeutics’ CMC capabilities and technologies in February for $25m.