ElevateBio reels in $170M to push 6 cell, gene therapy programs

Barely a year after launching with $150 million to build cell and gene therapy companies, ElevateBio is at it again. This time, it’s picking up another $170 million to propel six programs into the clinic and get its centralized R&D and manufacturing hub up and running.

ElevateBio co-founders David Hallal, Mitchell Finer, Ph.D., and Vikas Sinha set up shop to tackle a bottleneck in cell and gene therapy: manufacturing. The holding company provides a centralized R&D and manufacturing site dubbed ElevateBio BaseCamp for its portfolio companies to bring cell and gene therapies “from bench to bedside.”

Since launch, ElevateBio has inked a 10-year deal with Massachusetts General Hospital to manufacture cell and gene therapies as well as to build cell and gene therapy biotechs. It has also unveiled two companies: AlloVir, which is developing a T-cell therapy that targets multiple viruses, and HighPassBio, which is working on a T-cell receptor treatment for leukemia.

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The new financing will bankroll the clinical development of six programs in 2020 and 2021, including treatments from AlloVir and HighPassBio as well as those being developed by companies ElevateBio has not yet made public.

“[This] represents at least three additional new cell and gene therapies from not yet disclosed ElevateBio portfolio companies that include AAV-gene based technology as well as T-cell based therapeutics and we will launch these companies in the months to come,” Hallal, ElevateBio’s CEO, told FierceBiotech via email.

It plans to start several phase 2 and phase 3 studies for AlloVir’s Viralym-M program, which targets six viruses that commonly affect patients who receive stem cell transplants, and move a second program in diseases caused by community-acquired respiratory viruses into the clinic this year, Hallal added.

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The capital will also fund technology development and get ElevateBio BaseCamp fully operational.

“We will continue to build our capabilities at ElevateBio BaseCamp that will increase our leadership position in the space as we have a unique integrated approach for cell and gene manufacturing, enabling technologies, and broad range of therapeutics all under one roof. At BaseCamp we expect to be performing cGMP manufacturing as early as next year,” Hallal said. 

All of ElevateBio’s backers returned for the series B round, including F2 Ventures, MPM Capital, EcoR1 Capital, Redmile Group, and Samsara BioCapital. Newcomers The Invus Group, Surveyor Capital, EDBI and Vertex Ventures joined in.

AlloVir, which was founded on technology from the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at Baylor College of Medicine, has also jumped into the hunt for treatments against the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. It expanded its partnership with Baylor earlier this month to include work on off-the-shelf T-cell treatments that target the virus.