AskBio and Columbus Venture Partners Launch Gene Therapy Company Viralgen
New vector core facility will be located in San Sebastián, Spain
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. October 17, 2017 –(BUSINESS WIRE)–Asklepios BioPharmaceutical, Inc. (AskBio) announced today the formation of Viralgen, a gene therapy joint venture with Columbus Venture Partners. The Viralgen Vector Core will use AskBio’s technology for the production of double strand adeno-associated virus (AAV). Viralgen (www.viralgenvc.com) will be located in the Gipuzkoa Science and Technology Park in San Sebastián, Spain and will be the only facility in Europe with access to the most robust manufacturing platform. Viralgen is established with direct investments from AskBio and Columbus Venture Partners and a significant commitment from the Basque Government.
“This is a great opportunity to establish unique gene manufacturing capabilities in Europe,” said Sheila Mikhail, President and CEO of AskBio. “Our partnership with Columbus and the support of the Basque government will hopefully attract significant talent to the region and have immediate impact on the gene therapy market in Europe and the rest of the world.”
AskBio shall transfer Viralgen more than ten years of AskBio’s manufacturing experience, along with its cell line and process. Viralgen will then have the ability to manufacture GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) batches of viral vectors for the global market. The Viralgen manufacturing plant at full capacity will create about 50 highly qualified jobs for the local region.
“We are excited about the exclusive viral vector capabilities this partnership will create,” said Javier García Cogorro, Managing Partner of Columbus Venture Partners. “Viralgen success will be based on three areas: outstanding technology, quality of the location to attract talent, and commitment from the Basque Country Government.”
Asklepios BioPharmaceutical, Inc. (AskBio) is a privately-held, gene therapy platform company incorporated in 2003 and based in Chapel Hill, NC adjacent to the Research Triangle Park area. AskBio owns and operates a cell line manufacturing process and an extensive capsid library and has generated hundreds of proprietary third generation gene vectors. AskBio maintains an expansive portfolios of curative gene therapy technology that has been the basis of several AskBio portfolio companies including NanoCor Therapeutics (partnered with Medtronic to develop treatments for heart failure), Chatham Therapeutics (sold to Baxter to develop hemophilia treatments) and Bamboo Therapeutics (sold to Pfizer to develop cures for rare neuromuscular diseases and muscular dystrophy). More information is available at www.askbio.com.
About Columbus Venture Partners
Columbus Venture Partners is a Spanish investment Management Company with an investment strategy focused on the early-stage and high growth opportunities of biotechnology, medical technology, pharmaceuticals and healthcare industries in Spain. Its team of professionals combines a solid scientific, medical and business knowledge with an extensive experience in the establishment and investment of companies to accelerate merchandising. The Columbus investment team has more than 75 years of professional experience with venture capital investments in pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and invests through the COLUMBUS INNVIERTE Life Science Fund, FCR. More information is available at www.columbusvp.com.